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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

APOLLONIUS
THE NAZARENE

Dr. R. W. Bernard, B.A., M.A., Ph.D


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APOLLONIUS
THE NAZARENE
by

Dr. R. W. Bernard, B.A., M.A., Ph.D


[1964]

Edited for Web presentation by Mario Lampić

2010
[This material was not copyrighted and is now in the
public domain. Only minor proofreader-type correc-
tions have been attempted here and throughout the rest
of Dr. Bernard's work. No substantive textual modifica-
tions have been made.]
Foreword


For over sixteen centuries, the Christian Church has been
preaching its religion to the world. Yet when we consider the
horrible events that have occurred among professedly Christian
peoples during the recent world holocaust, resulting in the death
of a significant portion of the world's population, we must con-
clude that there is something radically wrong with a religion,
which, after having been preached and practiced for so many
centuries, has led its followers to such a terrible state of affairs,
involving the conversion of this planet into one vast slaughter-
house, drenched in human blood, resulting from the mass mur-
der of Christians of one nation by fellow-Christians of another,
each being urged on and blessed by their own priests.
And such a condition has prevailed in Christendom ever
since the Christian religion was first created, organized and
established in the year 325 A.D. by pagan Roman churchmen
convening at the Council of Nicaea. This Council was presided
over by the archmurderer Constantine, Emperor of Rome, who
had assassinated, in cold blood, a dozen of his near relatives,
including his own wife.
And the history of Christianity has been no more honor-
able than its origin; for ever since Constantine first established
it as the state religion of Rome, it has been responsible for the
deaths of over fifty million innocent people, under the charge
that they were "heretics," because they refused to accept the
unreasonable dogmas of the church – including about three
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R. W. Bernard

million women who were burnt alive as "witches" in compara-


tively recent times by men who called themselves priests of
the Christian religion.
What would the founder of Christianity, the gentle Naza-
rene and Prince of Peace, think of the crimes that have been
perpetrated down through the centuries, in his name, by a
church which professes to be his earthly representative – the
Church Militant! What would he think of the rotting corpses
of over fifty million of his dearly beloved brothers and sisters,
who were put to death by this same church because they re-
fused to accept its falsehoods and instead preferred to follow
Truth, of which he was the great exponent?
And could a church whose Inquisition has left such a black
record behind it be expected to offer us a written document
(The New Testament) that could be accepted on face value as
the authentic words of a man who taught peace, forgiveness
and kindness, rather than bloody murder? And might it not be
possible that not only the teachings but also the life history,
and even the name of the Nazarene, could, during the course
of centuries, have been altered by the ecclesiastical scribes of
the Church of Rome in the interests of its dogmas and ambi-
tions for temporal power?
Also, might not the original Nazarene, the peaceful Essene,
whose goodness and pacifism extended not only to humanity
but to the animal world as well, have been transformed by Con-
stantine's henchmen, the pagan-Roman priests who became
the Nicaean Church Fathers, into another man – called "Jesus
Christ" – more acceptable to their emperor? That was indeed
the case, and it is the object of the following pages, devoted to
the life and teachings of this unknown man, to prove it.
Two thousand years ago a great teacher of humanity ap-
peared in the world. He was a philosopher, a social leader, a
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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

moral teacher, a religious reformer and a healer. From one end


of the Roman Empire to the other, wherever he went, divine
honors were bestowed upon him – by all, from slave to em-
peror. He was undoubtedly the greatest man of his age; and
his date of birth (4 B.C. [=3 BCE, scientific]) and period of
activity coincided exactly with those of the Christian Messiah,
except that his life of incessant labor in behalf of humanity ex-
tended for over a century, during which time he preserved his
health of body and brilliance of mind unimpaired by the pas-
sage of time. He was a supreme exemplar of human perfection
– physically, mentally and spiritually. Over seventeen temples
were erected in honor of him in various parts of the Roman
Empire. His name was APOLLONIUS OF TYANA.
No more courageous humanitarian and social revolution-
ist has ever come to this world to help the human race and
redeem it from suffering. Alone and single-handedly, he defied
the bloodiest tyrants who ever sat on the Roman throne – Nero
and his more terrible successor, Domitian. Apollonius fear-
lessly traveled from one end of the Roman Empire to the oth-
er, inciting revolutions against these despots, and establishing
communistic communities among his followers, who bore the
name of Essenes, early Christians. And not content with such
activities in the Roman provinces, he bravely entered Rome
itself, after all philosophers had been expelled from the city
under penalty of death by the cruel Domitian; there he openly
denounced the tyrant, for which he was arrested and thrown
into a dungeon, awaiting certain death which, however, due to
his brilliant speech in self-defense and his extraordinary pow-
ers of mind, he averted, securing his liberty.
Two centuries after Domitian, the archmurderer and de-
generate Constantine sat on the throne of Rome. While former
Roman emperors hated Apollonius because of his revolution-
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R. W. Bernard

ary and "communistic" activities, Constantine especially hated


his Pythagorean teachings – his strict advocacy of vegetari-
anism, abstinence from alcohol and continence. Constantine
enjoyed the red meats, the flowing wines and the beautiful
women of his midnight revels too much to be willing to accept
the religion of which Apollonius was the recognized head: a
religion which he imported from India, based on the doctrines
of Chrishna and Buddha and bearing the name of Essenian
"Kristosism." It was for this reason that Constantine directed
his armies to exterminate the descendants of Apollonius' Es-
senian followers, who were known as Manichaeans.1
Finding that the religion of Rome was in a state of ad-
vanced decay and was daily losing hold on the masses, while
the cult of Apollonius and the communistic communities of
his Manichaean followers, in spite of the severest persecution,
kept spreading, threatening the vested interests of Rome, Con-
stantine's henchmen – the pagan priests of the Roman religion
– decided to hold a convention at Nicaea in the year 325 A.D.,
for the purpose of establishing a new religion. They decided
to take over the popularity enjoyed by the followers of Apol-
lonius, appropriate its essential doctrines (altering them so that
they might be acceptable to Constantine), and to replace the
philosopher Apollonius, whose abstemious Pythagoreanism
was too well known and too much hated by their emperor, by
a super-natural Messiah whose teachings would be less radical
and more acceptable to him.
So in place of Apollonius of Tyana, they put their newly
created savior, whom they named "Jesus Christ," who, then
and there, was first conceived and created in the minds of

1 Comment: For additional information on these Essenian Manichaeans,


please see "Manichaeism: World's Most Dangerous Religion?"

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

Roman priests who were later known as the Nicaean Church


Fathers.
As soon as Jesus was put in the place of Apollonius, the
task of the Roman churchmen was to destroy all records con-
cerning Apollonius and his Essenian Early Christian followers
during the first three centuries, so that the world might forever
be kept in darkness concerning this colossal deception and be
made to believe that Jesus and the Christian religion, which
they originated at the beginning of the Fourth Century A.D.,
antedated their creation by three centuries. It was for this rea-
son that the Alexandrian and other ancient libraries were burnt,
so that all books written during and pertaining to the first three
centuries of our Common Era might be destroyed.2
And so well did the churchmen succeed in obliterating
such records that, for nearly two thousand years, the world has
been kept in darkness concerning the fact that Apollonius of
Tyana was the recognized world teacher of the First Century,
and that during the first three centuries, before he was created
at the Council of Nicaea, as an alternative Messiah to Apollo-
nius, no such man as Jesus Christ was known to or mentioned
by anyone!
No greater cultural loss ever occurred than happened when
the Christian mob set fire to the books and manuscripts of the
Alexandrian Library [in 389 CE], in order to destroy all re-
cords of Apollonius of Tyana, so that the world might forever
be ignorant of his existence and of his replacement by the pre-
viously non-existent and unknown Jesus, which occurred at
the Council of Nicaea in the year 325 A.D. But fortunately,
2 Comment: The Library at Alexandria was burnt on several occasions, both
by arson and by accident. The burning referred to above occurred in the
year 389 CE during the reign of Emperor Theodosius I. Please see "Em-
peror Theodosius, Pope Hitler I."

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R. W. Bernard

a certain book survived – the FORBIDDEN BOOK – of all


books in that great library – that was most feared. It was THE
LIFE OF APOLLONIUS OF TYANA, by his biographer
Philostratus. The book was secretly carried to the Near East for
safety; and for over a thousand years it was preserved among
the Arabians, in spite of all efforts of the Crusaders – in the
interest of the Papacy – to destroy it.
Somewhat over four centuries ago, this forbidden book
was first brought into Europe from the East; and it was not
until 1801 that the first complete English translation, from the
Latin, was made, in spite of the opposition of the clergy, who,
when no longer able to suppress its publication, succeeded in
rendering it oblivious and in maintaining the same popular ig-
norance of Apollonius and his historical significance as existed
during the Dark Ages. So well did they succeed that, though
while after the appearance of Blount's first English translation
of Philostratus' biography of Apollonius at the commencement
of the Nineteenth Century, his name was on every cultured
Englishman's tongue; today, over a century later, he is almost
completely unknown, even in academic circles, mention of
him having been omitted from historical works and from the
educational curricula – so that, paradoxical though it may
seem, the greatest man of the western world during the past
two thousand years has been completely removed from the
pages of history.
It is the purpose of this book to present the life and teach-
ings of this man.3

3 Comment: All of this material by Dr. Bernard was written in 1964.

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Part 1

The Historical Apollonius


Versus The Mythical Jesus


In the year 325 A.D. was perpetrated one of the most colos-
sal frauds and deceptions in the annals of history. This was the
date of the Council of Nicaea, whose task it was to create a new
religion that would be acceptable to Emperor Constantine, who,
at the time, was engaged in the bloody persecution of those com-
munists and pacifists of ancient times who were known as early
Christians. What made Constantine, in the midst of his inhuman
massacre of these defenseless and despised people, suddenly
take over their religion and become its staunchest protagonist, is
one of the enigmas of history which has never before been elu-
cidated. On this point Reville, a Catholic apologist, writes:

"The acknowledged triumph of Christianity during the


reign of Constantine has always been considered one of
the unaccountable revolutions and one of those historical
surprises which, unconnected as they seem to be with any
phenomena of the past, might almost seem miraculous. One
longs to find out by what process the human mind passes so
rapidly from a contemptuous and utter denial of the teach-
ings of Christianity to an interest and avowed sympathy for
the doctrines of the new creed. (...) It was in the Fourth Cen-
tury, immediately after the most violent persecutions, that
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R. W. Bernard

Christianity, though embraced and professed by a minority


only, succeeded in attaining to a commanding position in
matters both social and political."

Aware that the old religion of Rome was in a state of ad-


vanced decay and was daily losing its hold on the people, while
the persecuted cult of the Essenes, or early Christians, in spite
of all the efforts to suppress it through the most bloody and
inhuman means, continued to thrive and win the increasing re-
spect of the masses, the Church Fathers, themselves previously
pagans whose hands were stained with the blood of those from
whom they stole their religion, saw that by adopting Christian-
ity (in a revised form) they could take advantage of the popular
prestige created by the martyrdom of the early Christian saints
and at the same time win the support of Constantine who, in
being converted to the Christian faith, could cover up his own
past crimes, gain increased public favor and extend and con-
solidate his empire.
In order to make the previously despised cult of the Ess-
enes, or early Christians, acceptable to Constantine, Emperor
of Rome, the Church Fathers had to remove from its teach-
ings certain doctrines which they knew were objectionable to
him. Chief among these was the prohibition against the use
of meats and wines, which was a cardinal doctrine of early
Essene Christianity. It was for this reason that the churchmen
at Nicaea found it necessary to remove from the Gospels these
objectionable doctrines, for they knew that Constantine loved
the red meats and flowing wines of his midnight revels too
much to be willing to accept a religion which required from
its adherents complete abstinence from these indulgences,
as early Essene Christianity did. To accomplish this, certain
"correctors" were appointed, whose task it was to rewrite the
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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

Gospels, omitting all that pertained to vegetarianism and ab-


stinence from alcohol. The Church Fathers had an additional
reason to do this – for they themselves had no desire to make
such a radical change in their own living habits.
That the original Gospels were rewritten and altered at the
Council of Nicaea is indicated by the following statement by
Archdeacon Wilberforce, who writes:

"Some are not aware that, after the Council of Nicaea,


A.D. 325, the manuscripts of the New Testament were con-
siderably tampered with. Prof. Nestle, in his 'Introduction to
the Textual Criticism of the Greek Testament', tells us that
certain scholars, called 'correctores', were appointed by the
ecclesiastical authorities, and actually commissioned to cor-
rect the text of the Scripture in the interest of what was con-
sidered orthodoxy."

Commenting on this statement, Rev. G. J. Ouseley in his


"Gospel of the Holy Twelve" writes:

"What these 'correctores' did was to cut out of the Gos-


pels with minute care, certain teachings of our Lord which
they did not propose to follow – namely, those against the
eating of flesh and taking of strong drink – and everything
which might serve as an argument against flesh-eating, such
as the accounts of our Lord's interference on several occa-
sions, to save animals from ill-treatment."

There is evidence to indicate that not only were the original


doctrines of early Essene Christianity radically changed at the
Council of Nicaea and replaced by others entirely different,
but that the man whose life was an embodiment of the original
doctrines was likewise replaced by another man who exempli-
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R. W. Bernard

fied the new doctrines. The name of the second man, who was
not a vegetarian and who did not prohibit the killing of ani-
mals, was Jesus Christ, who was put in the place of Apollonius
of Tyana, the historical world teacher of the First Century.
The first act of the Church Fathers, after they created their
new religion and its messiah, neither of which existed previ-
ously, was to burn all books they could lay their hands on,
especially those written during the first few centuries, which
made no mention of Jesus and which referred to Apollonius
as the spiritual leader of the First Century, realizing as they
did that such books, if not destroyed, constituted a dangerous
menace to the survival of their deception. It was for this reason
that the churchmen took such great pains to burn the ancient
libraries, including the famous Alexandrian Library with its
400,000 volumes, which was burnt to the ground by edict of
Theodosius, when a Christian mob destroyed the Serapeum
where the scrolls and manuscripts were kept.1
However, the churchmen failed to their purpose, for prior
to its burning which they foresaw, the librarians of the Alexan-
drian Library had secretly removed from it some of the most
precious volumes, which they carried eastward for safety.
Among the works which were thus saved from the flames
of the Alexandrian Library, the one which has created the most
widespread and long-continued discussion was the The Life
of Apollonius of Tyana, written by Flavius Philostratus at the
beginning of the Third Century A.D. As if by ironic fate, this
book – which of all books burnt in the Alexandrian Library
was one of the most dangerous – was preserved down through
1 Comment: This act of destruction was carried out in the year 389, or 64
years following the Council of Nicaea. For additional information regard-
ing the brutality and destruction ordered by Emperor Theodosius, you are
referred to the earlier section of this volume.

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

the centuries, resisting all attempts to destroy it. The reason


why this book was so much dreaded by the churchmen was
because, while it made no mention whatsoever of the existence
of Jesus or of Christianity, it presented Apollonius of Tyana as
the universally acclaimed world teacher of the First Century,
reverenced from one end of the Roman Empire to the other by
everyone, from the lowest slave to the Emperor himself.
No book ever written has aroused such a heated argument
over a longer period of time than this biography by Philostra-
tus. From the early centuries of our era, when Hercules and
Eusebius first started it, until the days of Blount, Voltaire and
the Deists, the controversy raged unabated. For Philostratus
in his book described a character born in the very year of the
birth of Christ who, in every respect, was the equal, if not the
superior, of the Christian messiah.
W. B. Wallace, writing on "The Apollonius of Philostra-
tus," calls Philostratus' biography a "pagan counterblast to the
gospel of Galilee, representing a Greek saviour as an alter-
native to the Semitic one." (Westminster Review, July-Dec.
1902). Furthermore, the main events of the lives of both men
were so closely parallel that the reader cannot help but con-
clude that if Jesus is not a fictitious imitation of Apollonius,
then Apollonius must be an imitation of him, since it would be
highly improbable for two such similar men to have been born
the same year and to have such similar biographies.
F. A. Campbell, in his "Apollonius of Tyana," writes:

"The birth of Apollonius is assigned to the year 4 B.C.


But as everybody knows, the current computation of the be-
ginning of the Christian era is incorrect, and the first year of
our Lord ought to be dated four or five years earlier. If the
Apollonian and Christian nativities both belong to the same
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R. W. Bernard

year, the coincidence is entitled the more attention than it


has received."2
"Thankful Tyana, like ungrateful Nazareth, had nursed a
prophet of blameless life, of miraculous power, of super-abun-
dant loving-kindness, and of heroic virtue. Both Apollonius of
Tyana and Jesus of Nazareth were born in the same lustrum,
if not the same year. Both Tyana's babe and Bethlehem's were
said to have sprung from a divine Father and a human mother,
and both of these holy ones drew their first breath amid gracious
portents and supernatural singings. Nor were these the only par-
allels in the memoirs of the Tyanaean and the Nazarene.
"Orthodox Christians had been accustomed to affirm
boldly the finality of Mary's son; but like a bolt from the
blue, here was Philostratus opposing himself to Matthew,
Mark, Luke and John and offering an alternative Messiah."

Also it is strange that, though they were both supposed to


be the greatest men of their age, they did not know of each
other's existence. And since there is absolutely authentic his-
torical evidence of the existence of Apollonius, but not a shred
of genuine proof of the existence of Jesus, we must conclude
that if one of these figures is fictitious and an imitation of the
other, it is Jesus who is the fiction and Apollonius the histori-
cal personage. Concerning the existence or, rather, the non-
existence, of Jesus, Tschendorf writes:

"Author after author, volume after volume, of the life


of Christ may appear until the archives of the universe are

2 Comment: This is clearly wrong. The inauguration of the Julian Calendar


had nothing to do with the inauguration of Christianity. It is purely coinci-
dental that Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar proclaimed the commence-
ment of the Julian Calendar in a year which ultimately neatly coincided
with the birth of this so-called Messiah.

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

filled, and yet all we have of the life of Jesus is to be found in


Matthew's gospel. Not a single person specially associated
with Jesus impinges history."

In Taylor's "Diegesis" (1829, Oaknam, England) we read:

"We have investigated the claims of every document


possessing a plausible claim to be investigated which history
has preserved of the transactions of the First Century and not
so much as a single passage, purporting to have been written
at any time within the first hundred years, can be produced to
show the existence of such a man as Jesus Christ or of such a
set of men as could be accounted to be his disciples."

Commenting on this statement by Taylor, J. M. Roberts,


in his "Antiquity Unveiled" (1892, Oriental Publishing Co.,
Philadelphia) writes:

"On the other hand we have abundant proof that Jesus


Christ is founded on the known life of Apollonius of Tyana,
the earthly existence of whom has never been questioned, to
which is added passages from the lives of various personages
and teachings concerning the mythical gods of other lands.
The Prometheus of the Greeks was the character which sug-
gested the crucifixion (also the crucifixion of Krishna in
Kristosite traditions). The Eleusinian Mysteries suggested
that the 'Last Supper,' and these together with doctrines of
ancient sun worship, were gathered and represented to be a
history of the events connected with the life of the Christian
Jesus. (Prometheus on the crag, suffering for the good of
mankind, suggests Jesus on the cross, changing Prometheus
for Jesus and the Scythian crag for the cross.)
"In the first chapter of Matthew the genealogy of Jesus
is given as the twenty-eighth generation from David down

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R. W. Bernard

through Joseph to Christ. In the third chapter of Luke the same


genealogy is given as being the forty-third generation from
Christ through Joseph to David. This is a very remarkable over-
sight on the part of the translators, for if there was anything they
could agree on, it is in regard to the descent of Christ.
"All the Christians that ever lived or ever will live will
find their ideal Jesus but a phantom – a myth. They can chase
it as a child would a butterfly through a meadow on a sum-
mer's afternoon, and it will elude their grasp. The Christian
Jesus is nothing more than the Krishna of the Hindus."3

No contemporary writers who lived at the time when Jesus


is supposed to have lived made mention of him; though forged
allusions to Jesus occur in the books of Livy and Josephus.
In his "History of the Jews," written in the First Century, at a
time when Jesus would have enjoyed his greatest popularity
among the Jews if he had existed, though pages and pages are
devoted to persons of no importance whatever and who would
have been forgotten forever had not Josephus mentioned them,
there is not a single mention of Jesus in the original edition. On
this point, Dr. Edmond B. Szekely, in his "Origin of Christian-
ity," writes:

"There is not a word or, better, there is no longer a word


in the works of Flavius Josephus about the Messiah, the

3 Comment: Note the linguistic similarity of the words "Krishna" and "Chri -
tian." In linguistics, the K and CH are often equivalent as consonant sounds,
and in most cases vowels are not counted in comparative linguistics – for
if vowels were considered in the evolution of words, then modern Texans
would speak a different language than modern New Yorkers, to provide a
simple example. Thus, when these two words are analyzed linguistically,
both have the consonant sequence of KRS(T)N, indicating a common cul-
tural source.

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

Christ crucified by Pontius Pilate, except for a crude inter-


polation, quite obviously false. (...) The silence of Josephus
is not due to disdain or studied neutrality."

In an Eighth Century Slavonic edition of Josephus' book,


such an interpolation occurs, referring to a certain Jesus, son of
Joseph, and which covers only a passing paragraph, the brevity
of which clearly reveals its fraudulent origin; for if Jesus were
mentioned at all, much more space would have been devoted to
him. And coincident with such interpolations of early authors
occurred the censorship of all books making reference to Apol-
lonius, whose name was omitted or abbreviated. (Thus, in the
original Pauline Epistles, which we have reason to believe origi-
nally had Apollonius as their central figure and were written by
him, his name is abbreviated to "Apollos" and "Pol," or Paul.)
That Apollos (conceded by no less an authority than the
Encyclopedia Britannica to be an abbreviation of Apollonius)
was the real author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, falsely at-
tributed to Paul, was the opinion of Martin Luther and other
eminent scholars.
And if Apollonius wrote some of the so-called Pauline
Epistles, there is a possibility that he may have written others,
and, in fact, all.
Plutarch, the eminent biographer, who lived between 46
and 120 A. D., would certainly have made mention of Jesus if
he had existed, since he wrote when Jesus' fame would have
been at its height. Yet in the voluminous works of Plutarch,
not a single reference to any such man as Jesus can be found.
Although Plutarch's miscellaneous writings make mention of
or allude with unerring certainty to nearly every religious and
ethical opinion of his time, he is absolutely silent on the sub-
ject of Christianity and the existence of Jesus. Though he knew

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R. W. Bernard

the utmost detail of the lives of great men who lived centuries
ago, we could hardly believe that Plutarch could have been
entirely unaware of the existence of such a great man as Jesus
who lived only a few years previously. This is all the more sur-
prising because the provinces of Bithynia and Pontus, where
Plutarch lived, were only a few days' journey from Boetia,
where, if we may believe Christian writers, the proselytes of
Christianity were swarming at the time.
But while Plutarch belonged to a different race and was
born after the alleged crucifixion, Philo, a Jew, who lived at
exactly the same time in the first part of the First Century, and
who visited the Essenes and wrote about them, should, and
above all others, have made mention of Jesus, who, if he had
lived, would undoubtedly have been the leader of this sect. Yet
not one word is found in Philo's writings concerning the exis-
tence of Jesus, any more than is there one word in the original
edition of the "History of the Jews" of Josephus. Nor did any
other writer in the First Century mention Jesus. They did not
because he did not yet exist. He was first born three centuries
later, created by the churchmen at Nicaea, in their effort to find
an alternative messiah more pleasing to Constantine and the
Romans, to be put in the place of Apollonius.
That the early Christians themselves, and not only the Pa-
gans, were ignorant of the existence of any such man as Jesus
has been clearly proven by the catacomb researches of Eisler,
a student of early Christian archaeology. In his work "Orpheus
the Fisher," Eisler shows that no representations can be found
among the catacomb inscriptions that depict Jesus, the cross
or the crucifixion. Instead, a Greek figure is represented as
the leader of the sect, a vegetarian and friend of animals, de-
picted either under the fig – of Orpheus playing his lyre and
surrounded by friendly animals – or as the Good Shepherd
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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

(Hermes) carrying a lamb around his neck. These representa-


tions obviously refer to Apollonius whose cardinal teachings
consisted of vegetarianism and the abolition of animal sacri-
fices. Eisler's findings were further verified by Lundy, who in
his "Monumental Christianity," a work on early Christian ar-
chaeology, likewise reports the entire absence of any reference
in the catacomb inscriptions to Jesus or a crucified saviour, in
whose place is found the familiar Greek figures of Orpheus
and the Good Shepherd, who are represented as friends of ani-
mals.
The closest original that can be found of the Jesus of the
New Testament is a rabbi named Jehoshua Ben Pandira, who
lived about a century B. C. In his "Life of Jehoshua," Dr. Franz
Hartman states that this illegitimate child of a Jewish maiden,
Stada, and a Roman soldier, Pandira, who is mentioned in the
Talmud, was the original Jesus. He was referred to as a rabbi of
not very great importance, who studied the mysteries in Egypt
and who was put to death by stoning after an attempted cruci-
fixion.
Seeking a substitute for Apollonius, the Church Fathers
seized upon Jehoshua; and changing his name to that of the
Druid sun god "Hesus" and shifting the date of his birth for-
ward a century, he was transformed into Jesus. On this subject
Manly Hall writes: "It is very possible that the early Church
Fathers, seeking desperately for a concrete human being on
which to hang the fabric of their faith, picked Jehoshua Ben
Pandira as the nearest parallel to be found among the Jew-
ish rabbins. Armed with this small fragment of history, they
proceeded to correlate the two – building in a little here and
removing some contradictory fragment there – until, lo and be-
hold, the 'King of Kings' is a Nazarene, in spite of the popular
opinion that nothing good can come out of Nazareth.
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R. W. Bernard

"This further explains why Helena, the mother of Con-


stantine, within three hundred years after the death of Jesus,
was unable to find in all of Jewry any man who had even
heard of him. According to the story, she finally came upon
one aged man who claimed to have heard that Jesus had
lived. He took her to an old Roman execution field where the
excavation revealed a number of crosses. When the whole
matter had been settled to everyone's satisfaction, Constan-
tine, to show his extreme veneration, had one of the passion
nails pounded into a bit for his horse.
"The most perplexing and comparatively unsolved mys-
tery with which the Christian theologian is faced is the al-
most complete lack of historical evidence concerning the
life of Christ. If we accept a few palpable forgeries, our
knowledge of the life of Christ is based principally upon the
accounts given in the Gospels. ... The gravest doubts exist as
to the authorship of the gospels of the New Testament. En-
cyclopedia Britannica acknowledges not only these doubts
but admits that there is no proof of any kind that the Gospels
were written by the men whose names have been affixed to
them in more recent time."
In 1894, there appeared a remarkable book written by
J. M. Roberts titled Antiquity Unveiled, in which evidence
was presented to prove that no such man as Jesus of Naza-
reth ever lived; but the name was adopted by the framers
of Christianity to cover the identity of Apollonius of Tyana
whose teachings and mode of life they purloined and made
use of as a model upon which to construct their system. He
adds: "The world has the incontrovertible testimony that
Christianity is of spurious origin and the most consummate
piece of plagiarism in human history."

In sharp contrast with the scarcity, or rather the absence,


of information regarding Jesus is the abundance of reliable
historical data available concerning Apollonius of Tyana, who
22
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

during the First Century enjoyed universal fame from one


end of the Roman Empire to the other, being honored by all.
More than seventeen temples were dedicated to him in vari-
ous parts of the empire. Nearly a dozen Roman Emperors held
him in awe and reverence. (The Roman Emperors Vespasian,
Titus and Nerva were all, prior to their elevation to the throne,
friends and admirers of Apollonius, while Nero and Domitian
regarded the philosopher with dismay.) The Emperor Septi-
mius Severus (A.D. 193-211) erected a statue to him in his
gallery of deities in the Pantheon while his son, Emperor Cara-
calla, honored his memory with a chapel or monument.
Lampridus, who lived in the Third Century, further informs
us that the Emperor Alexander Severus (A.D. 222-235) placed
a statue of Apollonius in his labarium side by side with one of
Orpheus.
It was the wife of Septimius Severus, the Empress Julia
Domna, who commissioned the philosopher Philostratus, a
member of a circle of writers who collected around her, to
write the life of Apollonius of Tyana based on manuscripts in
her possession, chiefly the memoirs of Apollonius' disciple and
traveling companion Damis, in addition to records preserved
in different cities where Apollonius was held in esteem – from
temples whose long-disused rite he restored, from traditions,
from epistles of Apollonius addressed to kings and sophists
and from his letters – of which the Emperor Hadrian had made
a collection which he deposited in his palace at Antium.
Julia Domna, known as the philosopher-empress because
she was surrounded by men of letters and philosophers and dis-
pensed enlightened patronage to thought and learning, was the
daughter of Bassianus, priest of the sun at Emesa in Syria. Philo-
stratus was a member of a group of famous writers and thinkers
who gathered around her. She was a woman of high intelligence
23
R. W. Bernard

and remarkable purity of character, living in seclusion and de-


voting her time to literature and philosophy in her extensive li-
brary. As in the case of Sappho, a woman of equally exemplary
morality, she was falsely defamed by the scribes of the same
churchmen who were later responsible for the brutal murder of
Hypatia. These three greatest women of antiquity, together with
Joan of Arc, the greatest woman of modern times, were all vic-
tims of a criminally jealous male clerical fraternity.
Another biography of Apollonius was written by Soteri-
chur of Oasis during the reign of Diocletian but is non-existent,
having been destroyed by the Christians together with other
ancient writings referring to him. Still another biography was
written by Moeragenes, which was likewise lost.
Though written in the early part of the Third Century A.D.,
Philostratus' biography of Apollonius of Tyana was not permit-
ted to be published in Europe until the year 1501, when Aldus
printed the first Latin edition to appear in Europe. This was
followed by Italian and French translations, but it was not until
1680 that the first English translation was made by Blount, an
English Deist.
Blount's notes on the book raised such an outcry that in 1693
the book was condemned by the church and its further publica-
tion forbidden. (Concerning the effects of Blount's translation,
Campbell, in his "Apollonius of Tyana," writes: "Fierce passions
were let loose. Sermons, pamphlets and volumes descended
upon the presumptuous Blount like fireballs and hailstones and
his adversaries did not rest until the authorities had forbidden
him to print the remaining six books of his translation.")
In his notes Blount pointed out that "we must either admit
the truth of the miracles of Apollonius as well as those of Jesus,
or, if the former were untrue, there would be no better ground to
believe in the latter." A century later Blount's notes were trans-
24
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

lated into French by the Encyclopedists. However, a century


before Blount, Voltaire, Le Grand d'Aussy, Castillon and other
French Deists wrote to the same effect, considering Apollonius
as a far more authentic historical figure than Jesus and fully his
equal in every respect and as worthy of performing miracles if
such were possible. (Francis Bacon also spoke of Apollonius
in the highest terms. In Burton's "Anatomy of Melancholy" –
which some have attributed to Bacon's authorship – appeared a
quotation from Philostratus' biography of Apollonius to which
Keats later referred in a footnote to his "Lamia.")
Blount, however, had translated only the first two books
of Philostratus' work (there were eight in all, the final six re-
maining unpublished); and it was not until 1809 that the first
complete English version was made by Edward Herwick. (In
his preface of his work titled "The First Two Books of Philo-
stratus Concerning the Life of Apollonius Tyanaeus, written
originally in Greek, and now published in English," Blount,
in self-protection, and obviously expressing opinions the op-
posite of what he really believed, humbly described his book
as "no more than a bare narrative of the life of a philosopher,
not of a new Messiah, or any ways in opposition to the old; no,
Philostratus does not anywhere so much as mention the name
of Christ. And if one Heathen Writer (Hierocles) did make an
issue of this history, by comparing Apollonius with Christ,
what is that to Philostratus, who never meant nor designed it
so, as I can anywhere find? However Eusebius hath already
confuted Hierocles, which confutation I had intended to have
annexed to Philostratus as an antidote.

"The whole translation I have already finished, and had


proceeded thus far as you see in my illustration, when I found
the alarm was given in all parts what a Dangerous Book was

25
R. W. Bernard

coming out; such a book as would unmask all practical atheists,


which (they being the greater number of men) might therefore
prove of pernicious consequence to the public. Above all, the
Popish Clergy thought themselves chiefly concerned herein,
who are so zealously revengeful and malicious, that I feared
it might fare with me as it did with poor Esop (who, notwith-
standing he had broken jests upon several great kings and po-
tentates without being punished for the same, yet only speak-
ing against the priests of Delphos cost him his life).
"Wherefore, if the Clergy would have Apollonius es-
teemed a Rogue and a Juggler, that being risen from the
dead, he is one of the principal fomenters of this Popish Plot;
or that there never was any such man as Apollonius, with all
my heart, what they please. For I had much rather have him
decried in his reputation than that some grave Cardinal, with
his long beard, and his excommunicative 'Ha,' should have
me burnt for a heretic."

Herwick's volume became so rare that in 1907, two Lon-


don book dealers of worldwide reputation searched and even
advertised in vain for a copy. This indicates how well the ec-
clesiastical suppression of this dreaded book had succeeded.
And while today scarcely a person can be found, even among
the most educated, who even heard the name of Apollonius
of Tyana, much less knew anything about him, according to
Campbell, "There was a day when the name of Philostratus
and Apollonius of Tyana was on every educated Englishman's
tongue," even though sectarian prejudice against Apollonius
characterizes every writer prior to the Nineteenth Century. The
popularity of Apollonius in ancient times stands in sharp con-
trast to his almost complete oblivion today.
That Apollonius, a mere man, should rival Jesus, a god,
in so many important respects, in the eyes of the churchmen
26
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

constituted an important reason to suppress Philostratus'


book, since it tended to belittle the dignity of their savior.
That Philostratus composed The Life of Apollonius of Tyana
as a pagan counterblast to the Christian gospels is an opin-
ion which has been held by reputable scholars both before
and after Blount's day. (This opinion, which has been widely
held by Christian writers, is evidently false, since Christian-
ity as we know it did not exist at the time when Philostratus
wrote, for he makes no mention of Jesus or of Christianity.
In spite of this fact, the book has always been held with the
greatest suspicion; and even after the Renaissance, when it
was introduced into Europe, Aldus hesitated for a time before
he gave the right to publish it, at last resolving to do so, but
adding to the text a reply by Eusebius to Hierocles' criticism
of Christianity, in which he opposed the Apollonian to the
Christian miracles, thereby, as he expressed it, giving "the
antidote with the poison.")
Thus, the Bishop of Avranches, writing in the Seventeenth
Century, expressed this view as follows:

"Philostratus seems to have made it his chief aim to dep-


recate both the Christian faith and Christian doctrine, both of
which were progressing wonderfully at that time, by the ex-
hibition on the opposite side of that shallow representation
of a miraculous science, holiness and virtue. He invented a
character in imitation of Christ, and introduced almost all the
incidents in the life of Jesus Christ into the history of Apol-
lonius, in order that the pagans might have no cause to envy
the Christians, by doing which he inadvertently enhanced
the glory of Christ, for by falsely attributing to another the
real character of the Savior, he gave to the latter the praise
which is His just due, and indirectly held Him up as the ad-
miration and praise of others."

27
R. W. Bernard

Tredwell, in his "Sketch of the Life of Apollonius of Tya-


na," writes:

"From the time that disputes began concerning the Chris-


tian religion, Christians have charged Philostratus with hav-
ing appropriated the events and miracles contained in Mat-
thew's gospel to adorn his life of Apollonius of Tyana, and the
pagans have made countercharges of plagiarism against the
writer of this gospel. Upon the earlier accounts of Apollonius
these charges have been held to be of sufficient importance
to meet with efforts of refutation from eminent Christians;
even as late as our day, Rev. Albert Réville did not think it
beneath his dignity nor his great learning, to attempt in 1866
a refutation of 'this great and monstrous infidel slander.' He
attempted to show in a little book bearing the title of 'Apol-
lonius the Pagan Christ of the Third Century' (meaning the
First Century) that Philostratus had borrowed leading facts
from the Gospel of Matthew. Miraculous phenomena were
related almost identical with that record by Matthew in his
gospel of Jesus Christ. And while Jesus is said to have been
casting out devils in Galilee, Apollonius was, according to
a tradition quite as trustworthy, rendering mankind a similar
service in Greece. Such was the opinion of Catholic writers
on the subject; and according to Daniel Huet, this statement
by the Bishop of Avranches 'ever since that time has had
great weight with all thoughtful minds.'"

28
Part 2

Similarities Between
Apollonius and Jesus


Let us now consider some of the essential points of similar-
ity between the biographies of Apollonius and Jesus. Before
his birth, the coming of Apollonius was preceded by an An-
nunciation, his coming being announced to his mother by an
Archangel. He was born in the same mysterious manner in the
same year when Jesus is supposed to have been born (the year
4 B.C.). Like the latter, in his childhood he displayed wonder-
ful precocity in religious matters; then he went through a pe-
riod of preparation; then came a period of public and positive
activity; then a passion; then a kind of resurrection; and finally
an ascension.
The messengers of Apollo sang at his birth as the angels did
at that of Jesus. He also was exposed to the attacks of enemies,
though always engaged in doing good. He similarly went from
place to place carrying out the work of reform, being accom-
panied by his favorite disciples, amongst whom disaffection,
discouragement and even treachery made their appearance.
And when the hour of danger was at hand, in spite of the pru-
dent advice of friends, and the abandonment of his disciples,
he went straight to Rome, where Domitian, the cruel emperor,
29
R. W. Bernard

was seeking to kill him, just as Jesus went up to Jerusalem and


to certain death. And before this event, he had been a victim of
Domitian's no less cruel predecessor, Nero, as Jesus had been
exposed to the machinations of Herod Antipas. Like Jesus, he
is accused of working miracles of mercy by the aid of magic
and unlawful arts, whereas he only succeeded in working them
because he was a friend of the gods and worthy to be esteemed
as such. Like Jesus on the road to Damascus, he fills an avowed
enemy with wondering dismay by an apparition several years
after his resurrection and ascension.
Another remarkable resemblance between Apollonius and
Jesus was the great number of cases of evil spirits that were
driven out at his bidding. He speaks to them, as it was said of
Jesus, with authority. The young man of Athens, who was pos-
sessed, through whom the devil uttered cries of fear and rage,
and who could not face the look of Apollonius, reminds us of
the Gospel narrative of the demoniac of Gadera. Neither was
cured until some outward visible circumstance had taken place
that gave the people reason to believe that the devil had really
gone out. In the one case a herd of swine rushed down into the
lake, and in the other a statue falls, overthrown by the violence
of the evil spirit as it rushes out of the young man.
There is also mentioned in the biography of Apollonius an-
other case of possession singularly like the one of the epileptic
child in the three first gospels. In Rome, Apollonius restored a
young girl to life under circumstances which immediately re-
mind us of the return to life of the daughter of Jairus. It may be
further remarked that both stories are so recorded that a careful
critic might ask himself with respect to each whether the young
girl who was brought to life again had really been dead after all.
The lame, the blind and the halt came in crowds to be healed
by the laying on of hands by Iarchas, the chief of the Brahman
30
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

sages of the Himalayan heights whom Apollonius visited and


under whom he studied and derived his knowledge and power.
His miraculous appearance to his friends – Damis and
Demetrius – who thought at first that he was a spirit, remind
us at once, in the way this was related, of the resurrection of
Jesus after his death.
The following inspiring description of the Christ-like fig-
ure of Apollonius is given by Campbell in his book Apollonius
of Tyana.

"A strange distinctive figure, clad in white linen and not


in garments wrought of skins; with feet unsandled and with
locks unshorn; austere, reserved, and of meagre mien; with
eyes cast upon the ground as was his manner, Apollonius of
Tyana drew to him with something of a saint's attraction all
simple folk, and yet won as intimates the Emperors of Rome.
"Through his love for all life and swift appreciation of
the beauty of the human form, he drew high to the suffer-
ings of the body and became acquainted with the sufferings
of the soul. He sought to heal, or at least to soothe, some of
the distresses, physical and spiritual, of poor humanity; and
to such a singular degree of skillfulness did he attain in the
healing arts of his day, that even the sacred oracles of Agaea
and of Delphi pronounced him more than mortal, referred
the distempered body and the smitten soul to him, for relief,
knowing that from his very presence proceeded a peculiar
virtue, a benign influence, an almost theurgic power.
"By years of silence and contemplation, by extensive trav-
el and by a continuous spiritual and worldly experience, he
deepened to no minute measure, an originally powerful and
intense personality, and so it was that at length he became the
admiration not only of all countries through which he passed,
but of the whole Roman and Hellenic world. Cities sent en-

31
R. W. Bernard

voys and embassies to him decreeing him public favors;


monarchs bestowed special dignities upon him, counting him
worthy to be their counsellor; incense was burnt before his
altars; and after his death divine honours were paid to his im-
ages, which had been erected, with great enthusiasm, in all the
temples of the gods. Nor did his fame evanesce. All down the
ages his name has carried in it something of a hurricane; for
speculative critics of both early and later days have thought
to find in the life of this exceptional character a parallel to the
life of Christ, and to ground an argument thereon, against the
supernatural claims of the Son of Man.
"Hence for centuries even the name of Apollonius was
odious to Christians; for it seemed the very Gospel of the
Son of Man was at stake; and Christian apologists, on their
part, in self-defense, were not lacking to attack fiercely their
adversaries' champion, and to denounce him as little better
than an impostor, a sorcerer and a magician; on this account
they have generally failed to understand the man. They have
lacked, at least in their combative approach to him, that
sweet affection for signal worth, that gracious patience for
nobleness, which is absolutely essential to comprehend a
new or startling character or mode of life."

Another writer gives the following description of Apollo-


nius:

"He had a Zeus-like head, long beard and hair descend-


ing to his shoulders, bound with a deep fillet. Damis de-
scribes Apollonius as ever mild, gentle and modest, and in
this manner, more like an Indian than a Greek, though, when
witnessing some special enormity, he would burst out in-
dignantly against it. His mood was often pensive, and when
not speaking he would remain for long with eyes cast down,
plunged in deep thought. Though always stern with himself,
32
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

he readily made excuses for others. As an instance of this,


the following may be cited: During Nero's reign, when, on
his way to Rome, Apollonius was warned that he and his
followers would be in danger, of thirty-four companions
who set out with him, only eight remained staunch enough
to brave the threatened peril; while praising the courage of
those few who remained with him, he refused to blame as
cowards the many who had fled."

From Philostratus' biography, we gather the following facts


about the life and character of Apollonius of Tyana. He was born
in the year 4 B.C. At the age of twelve he was sent to Tarsus
in Cilicia, the alleged birthplace and home of 'St. Paul.' There
he studied every system of philosophy, and perfected himself
in rhetoric and general literature. He took up residence in the
temple of Aesculapius, famed for its marvelous cures, and was
initiated by its priests into their mysteries, after which he per-
formed cures that astonished not only the people but those mas-
ters of the art of healing. He then finally decided to adopt the
philosophy of Pythagoras, and rigorously observed the trying
discipline instituted by the Samian sage. He abstained from ani-
mal food, wine and women – and lived upon fruits and herbs,
dressed only in white linen garments of the plainest construc-
tion, went barefooted and with uncovered head, and wore his
hair and beard uncut. He was especially distinguished for his
beauty, his genial bearing, his uniform love and kindness, and
his imperturbable equanimity of temper.
In these respects he was the personal embodiment of the
imaginary traits of the Christian Jesus, and was no doubt the
original of the pictures of the so-called Nazarene, now so ven-
erated by the uninformed professors of the Christian religion.
(Almost every picture that in modern times is recognized as a
33
R. W. Bernard

likeness of Jesus really have their origins in a portrait of Apol-


lonius of Tyana painted in the reign of Vespasian.)1
Determined to devote himself to the pursuit of knowledge
and the teaching of philosophy, he gave away his large patri-
mony to his poor relatives and went to Antioch, then a cen-
ter of learning but little less noted than Athens or Alexandria.
There he began his great mission by teaching philosophy to
a number of disciples and to the people. He then entered the
temple of Apollo Daphne at Antioch and learned the mysteries
of its priests. Later he traveled to India in search of wisdom
and visited the Gymnosophist philosophers of Egypt. He then
returned to Greece to restore the Mysteries and to teach the
doctrines of Krishna and Buddha, which he learned at the feet
of his Himalayan teacher Iarchas. (These Teachings, embody-
ing the Buddhist gospels that Apollonius carried westward, be-
came the origin of the Christian religion).
As a a social and political reformer, he traveled from one
end of the Roman Empire to the other, inciting revolt against
the cruel tyrants Nero and Domitian, for which he was arrested
by both and thrown into jail. After his arrest by Domitian, he
was acquitted and "disappeared." After having completed his
labors for humanity which lasted a century, it is believed he
went to India to rejoin his teachers in the Himalayas. When
and where he died is unknown.
Ells gives the following account of the life of Apollonius:
"He was born in Tyana, a Greek city of Asia Minor, three
years before the birth of Christ, and he lived about a hundred

1 Comment: This current writer has not seen this portrait painted in the reign
of Vespasian, but there is a marble bust of Apollonius in the Museum of
Naples, Italy; and this bust greatly resembles later attempts to render the
likeness of "the Jesus Christ." A photograph of this marble bust can be seen
at the beginning of this book.

34
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

years, until the reign of Nerva. As with Moses, no man knoweth


his grave unto this day. Devoted to philosophy from his boy-
hood, he studied it after the unequalled method of those days,
by listening to lectures and to disputations of rival thinkers in
every market-place and from the steps of every temple. He
chose as his own the philosophy of Pythagoras, and enthusi-
astically practised its austerities, maintaining absolute silence
for five years as a mental discipline, avoiding all relations with
women, giving away his patrimony, and wearing only linen
[cotton] garments.
"In the phraseology of today he was a vegetarian and
a total abstainer. He claimed that by this mode of life his
senses were made abnormally acute, so that he had a pre-
monition of future events and became aware of the minds
of men and of distant happenings; and he successfully set
up that defense when he was tried for `sorcery' before the
emperor. He prayed to the Sun three times a day, offering
incense but never sacrificing victims. He believed in the im-
mortality of the soul, in metempsychosis [reincarnation],
and in a supreme deity – the Creator of the Universe. Indeed
it may be argued that in the deities whom he worshipped he
saw merely phases and agencies of this Supreme Deity, for
in referring to the gods collectively he is frequently quoted
by Philostratus as using indiscriminately the words `gods'
or `god,' and the Indian sage Iarchas, with his evident ap-
proval, likens the Universe to a ship of which the Creator
is the Master and the subordinate `gods' are petty officers!
[Cf. the Christian idea of orders of `angels' who assist in the
smooth running of creation, and the Hindu idea of a trinity
of `gods' – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – representing the cre-
ative, preserving and destructive energies that are operating
continually within the creation, each having their correla-
tive functions or energy centers (chakras) within the human
body – which in itself is but a microcosm or reflection of the
macrocosmic universe.]
35
R. W. Bernard

"All his life long his advice and help were constantly
sought by cities, temples and rulers everywhere, and were
freely given without reward. He journeyed over the known
world from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ganges River, and
south to the cataracts of the Nile, acquiring and imparting
wisdom. In middle age, when his travels were not half com-
pleted, he told his disciples that he had already seen more of
the earth's surface than any other man had ever done. During
his long and laborious life he wrought many wonders, and
many men regarded him as an incarnate divinity. The kings
of Persia and of India vied with each other to do him honor.
After his death the Emperor Hadrian built a temple and en-
dowed a priesthood for his worship of Tyana. The Emperor
Aurelian vowed to do the like, calling him the most godlike,
holy and venerable of mankind, endowed with more than
mortal powers, and declaring: 'If I live, I will publish at least
a summary of his wonderful deeds, not because they need
anything my words can give, but to make them familiar to
all lips, as they are marvelous.'
"Another emperor, Alexander Severus, with question-
able taste, set the image of Apollonius in his private chapel
or solarium, among his tutelary deities, in company with Or-
pheus, Abraham and Christ. (Though this reference has been
quoted by many writers, it appears very improbable that ear-
ly Roman emperors, prior to Constantine, who was the first
to accept Christianity, had statues of Abraham or Christ in
their chapels. This statement is obviously a Christian inter-
polation, i.e., forgery. The statue of Orpheus is the only one
we can believe to have existed side by side with that of Apol-
lonius. As Eisler has shown, even in the Catacombs of the
early Christians there was no representation of Jesus, while
Orpheus is represented as the central object of worship. It is
probable that Orpheus was considered as the founder of the
religion of which Apollonius was the apostle.)"

36
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

This very history we owe to the reverence paid to his


memory by the Empress Julia Domna, the wife of Septimius
Severus, who commissioned Philostratus to write it and
supplied him with most of the materials. For two hundred
years after his death, Apollonius was generally acclaimed
as more divine than human, until in the reign of Diocletian
a Roman pro-consul Hierocles attempted to sweep back the
rising tide of Christianity by publishing his Candid Words
to Christians, in which he drew unfavorable comparison
of Christ with Apollonius. The nascent church easily con-
futed his attack, but could not forget nor forgive it; and not
content with its victory over its assailant, it stigmatized the
long-dead philosopher as a charlatan inspired and aided by
the devil.
The chorus of destruction has been very persistent. As late
as the time of Charles II, when one Charles Blount tried to
publish in England a translation of Philostratus' biography, he
complains in his preface that the clergy would only let him
print the first two of its eight books, and that the Catholic
priesthood was especially active in its opposition. (Ells, C.P.,
Life and Times of Apollonius of Tyana).
Since ancient times, the controversy raged between the fol-
lowers of Apollonius and those of Jesus as to who was the
more highly moral type. The partisans of Apollonius argued
that he, being a man, offered humanity a more useful moral
example than Jesus, a god, who could only be worshipped, but
not imitated, and in comparison with whom Apollonius was
as virtuous in every respect, and in some ways more so. They
pointed out in particular that a man who, from his sixteenth
year, resolved to live only on fruits and herbs and to remain
forever chaste – which resolution he strictly followed through-
out his long life of over a century – was certainly a higher and
37
R. W. Bernard

more moral type than one who sat and ate among publicans the
viands offered him and who drank wine at wedding feasts.
Already at the beginning of the Fourth Century A.D., Hi-
erocles wrote a treatise in which he maintained that Apol-
lonius was a much higher type than the Jesus of the Gospels.
Hot controversies ensued on the subject; and the Catholic
opponents of Apollonius invented the most ridiculous lies to
belittle his character. Thus Arnobius and the fathers of the
church, just after its formation at the beginning of the Fourth
Century, maliciously attributed the reputed miracles of Apol-
lonius to magic, while putting up a fictitious imitation of him
in the form of the messiah of their new religion. Even as late
as the Fifteenth Century, we find Pico della Mirandola, and
as late as the Sixteenth Century, Jean Bodin and Baronius,
still denouncing Apollonius as an evil magician who had a
pact with Satan.
However, even the enemies of Apollonius had to admit that
his life was exemplary, for here was a man who, from a tender
age, resolved to abstain from meat, from wine and from as-
sociation with women, who let his hair grow long and did not
permit a blade to touch his chin, and who also as a Pythago-
rean naturist, went around bare-footed or wore sandals made
from bark, not from leather, dressing only in white linen robes
and considering it an impurity to wear clothing made from the
wool of sheep.
Spending his time in a temple, his silence was extraordi-
nary, yet his knowledge of languages was universal. From one
end of the Roman Empire to the other he traveled as a teacher
and healer, to whom the sick flocked wherever he went. He
was also a social reformer and revolutionist, who fearlessly
opposed tyrants, inciting uprisings against them, and organiz-
ing his followers into communistic communities.
38
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

It thus appears that Apollonius was a much higher moral, as


well as intellectual, type than the humble carpenter of Galilee.
Such considerations have led Réville, a Catholic writer, in his
book on Apollonius of Tyana, to admit, "Jesus was only the of-
fering of an obscure people; his doctrine was but the refinement
of a paltry local tradition; his life, of which little is known to
the great majority of his contemporaries, was extremely short.
He soon fell victim to the attacks of two or three priests, a petty
king, and a prosecutor, and a few remarkable prodigies alone
distinguished him from a crowd of other existences which had
nothing whatever to do with the destinies of humanity.

"Apollonius, on the contrary, a Greek by birth, had stored


his vast intellect with the religious doctrines of the whole
world, from India to Spain; his life extended over a century.
Like a luminous meteor he traversed the universe, in con-
stant intercourse with kings and the powerful ones of the
earth, who venerate and fear him, and if he ever meets with
opposition, he triumphs over it majestically, always stronger
than his tyrants, never subject to humiliation, never brought
into contact with public executioners."

Tredwell, in his "Sketch of the Life of Apollonius of Tya-


na" writes as follows:

"That Apollonius was a great and good man can hardly


be questioned; the tribute paid him by Titus, Vespasian and
Aurelius is a guarantee. Even among those of the present day
most willing to detract from his character many are forced
to admit that a certain pure and true morality pervades the
whole of his system of teaching. There is a well- established
theory in it, that virtue and true piety are the only foundation
of happiness.
39
R. W. Bernard

"Apollonius was chaste and temperate; he was actuat-


ed by a noble desire to know and the still nobler desire to
communicate his knowledge to mankind. He was ingenious,
learned and original in his language. No man ever lived who
utterly rejected all vulgar artifice for producing effect upon
men; no majestical pomp of words characterised his teach-
ings. And he was ready at all times and in all places to impart
good instruction; and from all testimony of him no man was
more emphatically an apostle of peace. It is difficult, indeed,
to overcome the common-sense conclusion that Apollonius,
whom Philostratus has placed before us, is a real man, a cor-
poreity, and not a spirit; he walks the earth, eats, drinks and
sleeps like other men, loves and hates as experience teaches
us is natural for man. He is an observer of natural phenom-
ena, compares and speculates, adores nature, birds, animals,
trees, flowers and is not destitute of humor, although of great
gravity and dignity. Everywhere in nature and art, with the
Brahmans of India, he found something to admire."

Towards the end of the Third Century, just previous to the


formation of the church, the struggle between the Pythagorean
supporters of Apollonius and his opponents, who later orga-
nized the Roman Catholic Church at Nicaea, reached its last
and bitter stages. At this time there were temples and shrines
all over Asia Minor dedicated to Apollonius and his work, but
there were none to Jesus, for he was unknown since he did not
exist.
In the place of the august Apollonius, whose fame was
worldwide during the first three centuries, and who was re-
vered in all centers of learning as the wisest of men, his oppo-
nents endeavored to set up an uneducated youth of only local
significance, who was known only to a few illiterate fishermen
in his vicinity, and whose short period of activity (3 years) and
40
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

his short life (33 years) precluded his achieving what Apollo-
nius with his century of incessant activity had accomplished.
While Jesus spent his life in Galilee among the common peo-
ple, Apollonius traveled from one end of the world to the other,
studying the wisdom of the greatest minds that could be found
– the Brahmans of the Himalayas, the Gymnosophist philoso-
phers of Egypt, and Druids of Gaul, etc.
According to Tredwell, Apollonius travelled more exten-
sively than any man of his age. "That he was a man of no mean
account," Tredwell adds, "is evident from his letters addressed
to kings, rulers, philosophers, societies, and the first men of
his time, still extant, reserved in the works of Philostratus and
Cujacius. He traveled among the Magi and was everywhere
the more honored on account of his modesty and virtues; giv-
ing always wise and prudent counsel, and rarely disputing with
anyone. The prayer which he was accustomed to offer up to
the gods is admirable. 'O, ye immortal gods, grant us whatever
you shall judge it fit and proper to bestow, and of which we
may not be undeserving.'"
For many centuries after his passing, a halo of sanctity was
thrown around his head, and he was worshipped as a god in
many parts of the world. The Tyanaeans elevated him to the
position of a demigod, and the Roman emperors approved his
apotheosis. But in the course of time, the deification of Apol-
lonius showed the same fate as that decreed the Roman em-
perors; and his chapel became as deserted at that which the
Athenians erected in honor to Socrates.
It was claimed for Apollonius by his followers that he was
the son of a god (Proteus), a claim which he repudiated. Nev-
ertheless it was believed by people that Apollonius was of di-
vine parentage and that messengers of Apollo sang at his birth.
Ammonianus Marcellinus ranked Apollonius among the most
41
R. W. Bernard

eminent men, and claimed that he prophesied by supernatural


aid of a genius, as did Socrates and Numa.
The miracles said to have been performed in India by the
Hindu savior Krishna, during his mission being almost identi-
cal with those attributed to Apollonius, were all well known
and discussed in Alexandria at this time; and although Apol-
lonius never encouraged the propagation of his divine nature,
yet he never emphatically repudiated it, knowing that but little
respect attached to the person or teachings of any philosophy
with the vulgar multitudes unless founded on evidence of di-
vine inspiration, the demonstrations of which were in the form
of "miracles"; and he appears to have allowed the vulgar popu-
lace to believe this. Thus arose the belief that he was the son of
God, and was a second Krishna, or a Christ.
Out of respect to Apollonius, his native birthplace of Tyana
was regarded as a sacred city and was exempted from the juris-
diction of governors sent from Rome. Gibbon, in his history of
Rome, states that a superstitious reverence of the countrymen
of Apollonius caused the emperor Claudius Aurelian (A.D.
273) to treat with leniency the conquered city of Tyana. That
in spite of his eminence as an historian of Rome, Gibbon was
ignorant of the true significance of Apollonius is indicated by
the following statement of his: "We are at a loss to discover
whether Apollonius was a sage, an impostor or a fanatic." In
view of such ignorance by an outstanding authority on Ro-
man history, we can well imagine how the general public were
uninformed on the subject at the time that Gibbon wrote, as it
still is.
Vopiscus writes that as the forces of Aurelian were march-
ing against Tyana, the citizens having shut the gates against
him, incensed the emperor so that he declared that he would
not leave a dog alive in the city; but the spirit of Apollonius
42
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

appeared to him in his tent, threatened him into a better mind,


and for Apollonius' sake, he spared the inhabitants. Later he
dedicated a temple in his honor, as the Emperor Marcus Aure-
lius also did. The Emperor Hadrian, with reverent pomp, de-
posited Apollonius' writings in his splendid palace at Antium,
whither pilgrims flocked daily in crowds to see them.
Apollonius' reputation as a saint was so well established
during the early centuries that even after the advent of Chris-
tianity, many Christian writers, including Cassiodorus, spoke
highly in his praise. Lactantius says that a statue of Apollo-
nius was erected at Ephesus. Statues were erected to him in
the temples and divine honors were paid him by the Emperors
Caracalla, Alexander Severus and Aurelian, while magical vir-
tues were attributed to his name. Newman claims that Apol-
lonius was everywhere hailed as a god, and when he entered
a city made converts as soon as seen. This was the case in
Olympia, where the crowds paid more attention to him than to
the games, almost worshipping him.
At Ephesus, he was worshipped under the title of Hercules,
the warder-off of evil. Réville says that "after his death, the city
of Tyana paid him divine honours; and the universal respect in
which he was held by the whole of the pagan world testified to
the deep impression which the life of this supernatural being
had left indelibly fixed in their minds, an impression which
caused one of his contemporaries to exclaim, 'we had a god
living among us.'"
Newman, a Catholic apologist, first seeking to discredit
Apollonius and then admitting his greatness, writes:

"Apollonius is represented as making converts as soon


as seen. It was not then his display of marvels, but his Py-
thagorean dress and mysterious deportment, which arrested
43
R. W. Bernard

attention, and made him thought superior to other men, be-


cause he was different from them. Like Lucian's Alexander,
he was skilled in medicine, professed to be favored by Aes-
culapius, pretended to foreknowledge; was in collusion with
the heathen priests, and was supported by the Oracles; and
being more strict in conduct than Paphlagonian, he estab-
lished a more lasting celebrity."
After Apollonius' passing, for centuries he received from
emperors honors equal to those which they claimed for them-
selves, and he was universally deified and worshipped as a
demi-god. Philostratus writes that "the country people say
he was a son of Zeus, but he claims to be the son of Apollo,
as his name indicates. Apollonius has been called the 'true
friend of the gods.'" Pierre Bayle, in Dictionnaire Historique
et Critique (1696), remarks that Apollonius was worshipped
in the beginning of the Fourth Century under the name of
Hercules, and refers for his authority to Vopiscus, Eusebius
and Marcellinus. Albert Réville says, "The universal respect
in which he was held by the whole pagan world testified to
the deep impression which the life of this supernatural being
had indelibly fixed in their minds."

Philostratus speaks of a temple in Tyana dedicated to his


memory and founded at the imperial expense, "for the emper-
ors had judged him not unworthy of like honors with them-
selves." It was from the priests of this temple, who had gath-
ered as much information as they could about Apollonius, that
Philostratus got much of the material for his biography.
Concerning Apollonius' universal renown during the first
century, W.B. Wallace writes:

"His noble countenance, his winning presence, his pure


doctrine, his unsullied life, his ardent advocacy of the immor-
tality of the soul, as well as his miracles – led men to believe,

44
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

wherever he went, that he was more than mortal. He consorted


and corresponded with the mighty ones of the earth."

J.A. Froude writes:

"According to Philostratus he was a heathen saviour,


who claimed a commission from heaven to teach a pure and
reformed religion, and in attestation of his authority went
about healing the sick, curing the blind, raising the dead men
to life, casting out demons, stilling tempests, and prophesy-
ing future events – which came afterwards to pass.
"He was born four years before the Christian era in Tya-
na, a city of Cappadocia. His parents sent him to be educated
at Tarsus, in Cilicia, a place of considerable wealth and re-
pute, and he must have been about the beginning of his stud-
ies when St. Paul as a little boy was first running about the
streets. On the death of his father, he divided his property
among the poor, and after five years retirement he traveled
as far as India in search of knowledge. Here he discoursed
with the learned Brahmans, and came home with enlightened
ideas. He began his career as a teacher in the Roman Empire.
He preached his new religion and performed miracles to in-
duce people to believe in him. He was spiritual advisor of
Vespasian. By Domitian he was charged with having pre-
tended being a god himself. He was arraigned, convicted and
was about to suffer, when he vanished out of the hands of the
Roman police and reappeared at Ephesus. ... Apollonius of
Tyana, among many others, was looked upon as an emana-
tion of the divine nature." – Nineteenth Century, Sept. 1879

Tigellinus, the brutal favorite of Nero, cowered before him;


Vespasian was encouraged by him to aim at the Imperial dia-
dem. His disciples were numerous. On this point, Mead, in his
Apollonius of Tyana, writes:
45
R. W. Bernard

"He attracted to himself many followers and disciples. It


would have been interesting if Philostratus had told us more
about these 'Apollonians,' as they were called, and wheth-
er they constituted a distinct school, or whether they were
grouped together in communities on the Pythagorean model,
or whether they were simply independent students attracted
to the most commanding personality of the times in the do-
main of philosophy."

Indicating the high reverence in which Apollonius was


held in his day, Justin Martyr, in his work written in the second
quarter of the First Century, made the following statement:

"Question 24: If God is the maker and master of cre-


ation, how do the consecrated objects of Apollonius have
power in the (various) orders of creation? For, as we see,
they check the fury of the waves and the power of the winds
and the inroads of vermin and attacks of wild beasts."

The followers of Apollonius, who were called Apollonians,


continued to worship him until the Fourth Century. Many of
them wore the same dress as himself and adopted his Pythago-
rean vegetarian mode of living. However, Apollonius never
imposed his mode of life on others, even on his personal dis-
ciples, whom he gave utmost freedom. Thus, he tells Damis
that he has no wish to prohibit him from eating flesh and drink-
ing wine, though he demands the right to refrain himself and
of defending his conduct if called to do so. This is an indica-
tion that Damis, who was the source of Philostratus' informa-
tion concerning the life and teachings of Apollonius, was not a
member of the inner circle of discipline, and therefore was not
in a position to communicate as much about his master as he
otherwise would have been able to do.
46
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

In the Pauline Epistles, which, in their original form, were


undoubtedly written by Apollonius, Damis is referred to as
"Demas," a companion of the apostle (Paul, or Pol, represent-
ing Apollonius, who also appears in the epistles as "Apollos,"
who is said to have preached a similar doctrine and in a similar
manner as Paul).
(See Colossians, Chapter 4: Verse 14; 2nd Timothy, Chap-
ter 4: Verse 10; Philemon, Verse 24; I Corinthians, Chapter 3:
Verses 4 – 6 & Verse 22; I Corinthians, Chapter 4: Verse 6;
Titus, Chapter 3: Verse 13.)
Admitting that he was not permitted to enter the inner
circle of his teacher and master, Damis refers to his manu-
script on the "Life, Journeyings and Sayings of Apollonius
of Tyana," which later came into the possession of Julia
Domna, who obtained it from a relative of Damis, and
which constituted the basis of Philostratus' biography, as
"the crumbs of the feast of the gods." Repeated mention
is made of their accompanying Apollonius on his travels,
sometimes as many as ten of them at the same time, but none
of them were allowed to address each other until they had
fulfilled the vow of silence. The most distinguished of his
followers were Musonius, who was considered the greatest
philosopher of the time after Apollonius, and who was the
special victim of Nero's cruelty, and Demetrius, "who loved
Apollonius" as his master.
These names are well known to history; of names other-
wise unknown are the Egyptian Dioscorides, who was left be-
hind owing to weak health on the long journey to Ethiopia;
Menippus, whom he had freed from an obsession; Phaedimus
and Nilus, who joined him from the Gymnosophists; and of
course Damis, who would have us think that he was always
with him from the time of their first meeting at Ninus.
47
R. W. Bernard

There is reason to think that the followers of Apollonius


were Essenes or Therapeuts, of which sects he was undoubt-
edly the leader. According to Réville:

"Apollonius and his followers, like Pythagoras and his


disciples, constituted a regular order of Pagan monks."

Lecky, in his well known book History of European Mor-


als, states that Apollonius "obtained a measure of success sec-
ond only to that of Christ." Renan called Apollonius "a sort
of Christ of paganism." Réville calls him a Greek or Pagan
Christ, "a universal priest, a philosopher who is so holy as en-
titled to divine honors," and "a god in human form."

"He advocated a morality and virtue far in advance of


the religious sentiments of his age."

Again he writes:

"Apollonius of Tyana, at the close of the Flavian period,


endeavored, with noble purpose, to unite moral training with
religious practice; the oracles, which had long ceased, were
partially restored."

According to Phillimore, Apollonius founded a church and a com-


munity, composed of his disciples – who were undoubtedly the branch
of Essenes known as Nazarenes or Therapeuts. Phillimore says:

"Apollonius may be said to have founded a 'church'; but


there was nothing commercial in the institution; he was not
salaried by his admiring disciples."

It appears that Apollonius was himself an object of worship –


because of his sanctity, wisdom, beauty, etc. – wherever he went.
48
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

Phillimore writes:

"His magic powers, which seem to have been consider-


able, procured for local piety his recognition as an object of
cultus in his Cappadocian birthplace."

There is evidence that Apollonius' "church," whose adherents


were known as "Apolloniei" survived for some centuries after
his death, and constituted the origin of what, after the Council of
Nicaea, was later transformed into the Christian Church.
G.R.S. Mead, a student of early Christian and Gnostic move-
ments, writes along similar lines as follows:

"Apollonius of Tyana was the most famous philosopher


of the Graeco-Roman world of the First Century, and de-
voted the major part of his long life to the purification of
the many cults of the Empire and to the instruction of the
ministers and priests of its religions. With the exception of
Christ no more interesting personage appears upon the stage
of western history in these early years."

Appuleis classes Apollonius with Moses and Zoroaster,


and other famous prophets and Magi of antiquity. Arnobius,
the teacher of Lactantius, at the end of the Third Century, also
classes him among the great prophets, side by side with Zoro-
aster. But while the previous universal high opinion of Apollo-
nius was lost after the formation of the Church, the Church Fa-
thers were not all of the same mind concerning him, for on the
one hand while we find John Chrysostom bitterly denouncing
Apollonius as a deceiver and evil-doer, Jerome asserts that the
philosopher found everywhere something to learn and some-
thing whereby he could become a better man. Also in the next
century, St. Augustine, while ridiculing the attempts that were
49
R. W. Bernard

made at comparison with Jesus, admits that the character of


Apollonius was exemplary in virtue.
Vopiscus, a writer who lived at the end of the Third Cen-
tury, is very enthusiastic about Apollonius, whom he called "a
sage of the most widespread renown and authority, an ancient
philosopher and a true friend of the gods, indeed, a manifesta-
tion of Deity." Vopiscus resolved to write a life of Apollonius
in Latin, so that, he says, "his deeds and words may be on the
tongues of all, for as yet the only accounts are in Greek. For
who among men," he adds, "was more holy, more worthy of
reverence, more venerable and more god-like than he?" He it
was who gave life to the dead. He it was who did and said so
many things beyond the power of men.
Vopiscus did not fulfill his intention, but Soterichus, an
Egyptian epic poet of the last decade of the Third Century,
Nichomachus, and Tascius Victorianus all wrote lives of Apol-
lonius, which were lost after the formation of the Church, hav-
ing been destroyed by the Christians.
During the Fifth Century, we find Volusian, a pro-consul
of Africa, descended from an old Roman family, still worship-
ping Apollonius of Tyana as a supernatural being. Lactantius
refers to a statue erected to him at Ephesus. Sidonius Apo-
linaris, who wrote his biography in the last half of the Fifth
Century, speaks of him as the favorite of monarchs and the
admiration of the countries he traversed. This same writer sent
a copy of Philostratus' The Life of Apollonius of Tyana to his
friend Leo, the chancellor of a Frankish king at Toulouse, with
this message:

"Throw aside your endless labors and steal a respite


from the burdens and bustle of the Court, so that you may
really study this long-expected volume as it deserves. When
50
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

once absorbed in it, you will wander with our Tyanaean over
Caucasus and Indus, to Brahmans of India and the naked
philosophers of Nubia. It describes the life of very much
such a man as you are, with due respect to your Catholic
faith. Courted by sovereigns, but never courting them; eager
for knowledge; aloof from money-getting; fasting at feasts;
linen-clad among wearers of purple; rebuking luxury; self-
contained; plain-spoken; shock-headed in the midst of per-
fumed kings, who themselves were reeking with myrrh and
malo-bathrum and polished with pumice-stone; taking from
the flocks nothing to eat or to wear; and notwithstanding
all these peculiarities, not distrusted but honored wherever
he went throughout the world, and although royal treasures
were placed at his disposal, accepted from them merely those
gifts to his friends which it suited him better to bestow than
to receive. In short, if we measure and weigh realities, no
philosopher's biography equal to this has ever appeared in
the times of our ancestors; so far as I know; and I am certain
that in my times it finds a worthy reader in you."

Other references to Apollonius were derived from a certain


Machus, the unusual color of whose robes won him the name
of Porphyry, who wrote a celebrated treatise against Christian-
ity which was destroyed by the emperor; but his life of Py-
thagoras and his school, written in the last years of the Third
Century and the first years of the fourth, is still in existence,
as is also a similar work by Iamblichus written at the same
time; and both refer to Apollonius' biography by Pythagoras,
the first thirty sections of which constituted the course of their
information.
Tredwell says that there was a vast amount of literature
produced during the Apollonian period, "more probable than
was ever produced during a like period by the like number of
51
R. W. Bernard

persons. All we know about it is, that it once existed and was
destroyed during the subsequent ages. It was obviously burnt
by the Christians."
Apollonius was a man of extensive learning and the author
of many books, all of which have been destroyed by the Chris-
tians. Apollonius was the author of the following books:
(1) The Mystic Rites or Concerning Sacrifices. This treatise
as mentioned by Philostratus, who tells us that it sets down the
proper method of sacrifice to every god, the proper hours of
prayer and offering. It was in wide circulation, and Philostra-
tus had come across copies of it in the libraries and cities, and
in the libraries of philosophers. Several fragments have been
preserved and have been found in the writings of Eusebius.
Noack tells us that scholarship is convinced of the genuine-
ness of this book, which was widely circulated and held in
the highest respect. It is said that its rules were engraved on
brazen pillars at Byzantium, which were melted down by the
Christians.
(2) Four books entitled The Oracles or Concerning Divi-
nation. According to Philostratus, the full title was Divination
of the Stars, and he says that it was based on what Apollonius
learned in India; but the kind of divination Apollonius wrote
about was not the ordinary astrology, but something which
Philostratus considers superior to ordinary human art in such
matters. He had, however, never heard of anyone possessing a
copy of this rare book.
(3) The Life of Pythagoras. Porphyry refers to this book,
and Iamblicus quotes a long passage from it.
(4) The Will of Apollonius. This was written in the Ionic
dialect, and contained a summary of his doctrines.
(5) A Hymn to Memory. Eudocia speaks of many other
works, all of which, including the ones above described, were
52
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

destroyed by the churchmen. He was familiar with Plato, Py-


thagoras, Livy and Horace, as indicated by his frequent quota-
tions from them; but his favorite author was Homer, and his
philosophy was the dialectic stoicism of Zeno. He was the
author of four books on Judicial Astrology and a treatise on
Sacrifice, referred to by Eusebius and Suidas.
The Emperor Hadrian had a book he had written which
he kept with his letters in his palace at Antium. According to
Tredwell, it seems probable that Apollonius was the author of
a voluminous literature, much of which Philostratus must have
had before him in a diary of Damis. Marcus Aurelius (A.D.
130) learned stoic philosophy from Apollonius' writings.
"From Apollonius," said Aurelius, "I have learned freedom of
will and understanding, steadiness of purpose, and to look to
nothing else, not even for a moment, except to reason."

53
Part 3

The Controversy
Between Adherents of
Apollonius and Jesus


Let us briefly review the history of the controversy be-
tween the adherents of Apollonius and those of Jesus, each of
whom claimed that the miracles of their Messiah were greater
than those of the other.1
It started in the early part of the Fourth Century with the
publication of Hierocles' "Lover of Truth," which was refuted
by Eusebius in a work titled, "The Treatise of Eusebius, the Son
of Pamphilus, Against 'The Life of Apollonius of Tyana' Writ-
ten by Philostratus, Occasioned by the Parallel Drawn by Hi-
erocles between Him and Christ." Hierocles' book was an attack

1 On this subject, Mead writes: "The development of the Jesus-Apollonius-


miracle controversy into the Jesus-against-Apollonius and even Christ-
against-Anti-Christ battle, fought out with relays of lusty champions on
the one side against a feeble protest at best on the other, is a painful spec-
tacle to contemplate. How sadly must Jesus and Apollonius have looked
upon, and still look upon, this bitter and useless strife over their saintly
persons? Why should posterity set their memories one against the other?
Did they oppose one another in life? Did even their biographers do so after
their deaths? Why then could not the controversy have ceased with Euse-
bius? The answer to these questions is clear to the reader of this book."

54
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

on Christianity, charging the Christians of creating Jesus as a


plagiarism of Apollonius, a charge that still holds good, since it
has never been refuted. On this subject, Roberts writes:

"All through the Third Century there is repeated mention


of this (Apollonius' teachings). But it was not until Hierocles
in the beginning of the Fourth Century boldly charged upon
the Christian priesthood their plagiarism of the teachings and
works of Apollonius, that the latter found it necessary to set
every means at work that could in any way help to conceal
the great truth that Hierocles proclaimed with such porten-
tous force. It was true that no one knows exactly what it was
that Hierocles wrote, for Eusebius, who took upon himself
the task of destroying the testimony of Hierocles, took pre-
cious good care to destroy the work of his formidable op-
ponent, and give his own version of the matter instead. The
reply of Eusebius to Hierocles has come down to us. Why
has not Hierocles' arraignments of the Christian priesthood
also come down to us? Let that priesthood answer."
(J. M. Roberts – Antiquity Unveiled)

In refutation of Hierocles' claims, Eusebius tried to show


that Apollonius was a poor imitation of the Christian Messiah.
On the other hand, Hierocles, insofar as this can be gathered
from Eusebius' refutation, made the following statements:

"You proclaim Jesus a god on account of a few prodigies


recorded by their evangelists, yet we have writers of more
education than yours and with more care for truth, who relate
solid judgement, do not make him a god on account of them,
only regard him as a man found pleasing to the gods."

This is practically all that Eusebius tells us about the con-


tents of the work of Hierocles under the title of "Philalethes."
55
R. W. Bernard

Everything else, in the book, he asserts, has been urged by oth-


ers and has been already replied to. The parallel between Apol-
lonius and Christ is all that is new. Eusebius examines each of
Philostratus' eight books in succession, pointing out the incon-
sistencies and incredibilities of the narrative. He says:

"I have no objection to placing Apollonius as high as


anyone likes among philosophers. But when, under the cov-
er of Pythagoreanism, Philostratus makes him go beyond the
bounds of philosophy and makes him a saint, he is really
made to be an ass in lion skin, a juggling quack instead of
a philosopher. There are limits set to human powers which
no man, like Apollonius, can transgress, but a higher being
(Jesus) can condescend to the conditions of human nature."

In short, Eusebius mocks Apollonius' miracles as untrue


and impossible and tries to point out the inconsistencies of the
biography, concluding that if the miracles of Apollonius really
took place they were performed by the aid of a demon.
Eusebius, arriving at the culmination of his argument, says:

"Lastly, Philostratus, having thrown doubt on the place


and manner of his departure from life, will have it that Apol-
lonius went to heaven bodily, accompanied by an expected
song of maiden voices."

Eusebius ends by saying that if any should think fit to


place Apollonius among philosophers, he does not object; if
only they will clear him of the false ornaments affixed to him
by the writing under examination; the real effect of such ad-
ditions being to culminate the man himself under the guise
of raising him to divinity. In conclusion let us hear Eusebius'
own words:
56
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

"I need not say with what admiring approval he [Hiero-


cles] attributes his [Apollonius] thaumaturgic feats not to the
tricks of wizardry, but to a divine and mysterious wisdom;
and he believes they were truly what he supposes them to
have been, though he advances no proof of his contention.
Listen then to his very words: 'In their anxiety to exalt Jesus,
they run up and down printing of how he made the blind to
see and worked certain other miracles of the kind.' Then after
an interval he adds as follows: 'Let us note how much better
and more sensible is the view which we take of such mat-
ters, and explain the conception which we entertain of men
gifted with remarkable powers.' And thereupon after passing
heedlessly by Aristeas, continues thus: 'But in the time of
our own ancestors, during the reign of Nero, there flourished
Apollonius of Tyana who from mere boyhood when he be-
came the priest of Aegae of Cicilia, of Aesculapius, the lover
of mankind, worked any number of miracles, of which I will
omit the greater number and only mention a few.'
"Then he begins at the beginning and enumerates the
wonders worked by Apollonius, after which he continues in
the following words: 'What then is my reason for mention-
ing these facts? It is in order that you may be able to contrast
our own accurate and well-established judgment on each
point with the easy credulity of the Christians. For whereas
we reckon him who wrought such feats not a god, but only
a man pleasing to the gods, they on the strength of a few
miracles proclaim their Jesus a god.'
"To this he adds after a little more the following remark:
'And this point is also worth noticing, that whereas the tales of
Jesus have been vamped up by Peter and Paul and a few others
of the kind – men who were liars and devoid of education and
wizards – the history of Apollonius was written by Maximus
of Aegae, and by Damis the philosopher, who lived constantly
with him, and by Philostratus of Athens, men of the highest
education, who out of respect for the truth and their love of

57
R. W. Bernard

mankind, determined to give the publicity they deserved to the


actions of a man at once noble and a friend of the gods.'"

These are the very words used by Hierocles in his treatise


against us which he has titled "Lover of Truth."2
Hierocles was further answered by Lactantius; and it soon
became necessary for every Catholic saint or doctor of the
Fourth and Fifth Centuries to have an opinion about Apollo-
nius of Tyana. Eusebius admitted, however, that Apollonius
was a great philosopher; and Lactantius and Arnobius, while
not denying his miracles, attribute them to "magic." St. Jerome
also regarded him as a magician. In a work written after the
death of Philostratus by an unknown writer, which was for-
merly attributed to Justin Martyr, the miracles of Apollonius
were further ascribed to magic.
St. Augustine, in arguing with the heathen, paid Apollonius
a rather mild compliment by allowing that he was "purer than
Jove." The learned Bishop Sidonius Apollonaris praised the
Greek philosopher and translated his life into Latin. On the other
hand, St. John Chrysostom branded the work of Philostratus as
false and Apollonius as a "deceiver"; and his view gradually be-
came the general one of Christian writers. The Church Father,
Isidorus of Pelusium, who died in 450 A.D. bluntly denied that
there was any truth in the assertion that Apollonius "consecrated
many spots in the world for the safety of the inhabitants."
Among the ancient writers who make mention of Apollo-
nius is Origen, who refers to the memoirs of Moeragenes, who

2 Hierocles was inspired to write his book by Porphyry, who had written
fifteen books against Christianity as well as many works in defense of
Apollonius' neo-Pythagorean philosophy, including four books in defense
of vegetarianism titled "Four Books on Abstinence from Animal Food."
Hierocles' work was written in 303 A.D., a year before Porphyry died.

58
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

speaks of him as a philosopher and magician. Later, Ammianus


Marcellinus, the last subject of Rome who composed a profane
history in the Latin language, and the friend of Julian the Phi-
losopher Emperor, refers to Apollonius as "that most renowned
philosopher," and thought that, "like Pythagoras and Socrates,
he was a privileged mortal who lived assisted by a familiar ge-
nius." A few years later, Eunapius, the pupil of Chrysanius, one
of the teachers of Julian, writing in the last years of the Fourth
Century says that "Apollonius was more than a philosopher; he
was a middle term, as it were, between gods and men."3

3 Comment: Origenes, or Origen, lived 186-254 CE. In his lifetime he


travelled to Cappadocia around the year 235. Undoubtedly he heard of
Apollonius of Tyana. In A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and
Mythology, Vol. III, p. 55, by Professor William Smith & Others, London,
1890, we find the following: "Origen lived before the limits which sepa-
rated orthodoxy and heterodoxy were so determinately and narrowly laid
down, as in the following centuries; and therefore, though his opinions
were obnoxious to many, and embittered the opposition to him, he was not
cast out of the church as a heretic in his lifetime, the grounds of his excom-
munication relating rather to points of ecclesiastical order, and regularity,
than to questions of dogmatic theology. But some time after his death,
and especially after the outbreak of the Arian controversy, and the appeal
of the Arians to passages in Origen's works, the cry of heresy was raised
by the orthodox party against his writings." And this "Arian controversy"
referred to above stemmed directly from the beliefs of Apollonius of Tyana
and the lingering opinion that Apollonius was not a god but a man who had
achieved certain god-like qualities.
Also, in Encyclopedia Britannica Online, we can find the following
concise definition of "Arianism": "Arianism, a Christian heresy first pro-
posed early in the Fourth Century by the Alexandrian presbyter Arius. It
affirmed that Christ is not truly divine but a created being. Arius' basic
premise was the uniqueness of God, who is alone self-existent and immu-
table; the Son, who is not self-existent, cannot be God. Because the God-
head is unique, it cannot be shared or communicated, so the Son cannot be
God. Because the Godhead is immutable, the Son, who is mutable, being

59
R. W. Bernard

Eunapius states furthermore that Apollonius was not only


an adherent of the Pythagorean philosophy, but "he fully ex-
emplified the more divine and practical side of it." He believes
that Philostratus should have called his biography "The So-
journing of a God Among Men."
Even in the Sixth Century, after the downfall of philosophy
with the rise of the Church, we find Cassiodorus, who spent
the last years of his life in a monastery, speaking of Apollonius
as the "renowned philosopher." In the Eighth Century, among
the Byzantine writers, we find the monk, George Syncellus,
referring to him as "the most remarkable of all the illustrious
people who appeared under the Roman Empire." At about the
same time, Tzetzos, a critic and grammarian, called Apollo-
nius "all-wise and fore-knower of all things."
Towards the end of the middle ages, the cult of Apollonius
still survived in the east, though forgotten in the west, as in-
dicated by the Statement of Nicetus concerning the melting-
down of certain bronze doors at Byzantium, which were said
to have been inscribed with the "Book of Rites," one of the
lost works of Apollonius. This was done to put an end to non-
Christian beliefs and usages which had gathered around them.

represented in the Gospels as subject to growth and change, cannot be


God. The Son must, therefore, be deemed a creature who has been called
into existence out of nothing and has had a beginning. Moreover, the Son
can have no direct knowledge of the Father since the Son is finite and of a
different order of existence."
The Council of Nicaea was convened in 325 mainly for the purpose of
establishing the humanity or divinity of the Son. It was the majority opin-
ion of those convened that the Son was indeed on an equal footing with
God, the Father, and that all sects which henceforth proclaimed otherwise
were "heresies" to be rooted out and destroyed. This destruction reached its
pinnacle under the reign of Emperor Theodosius, the first self-proclaimed
"Catholic," at the end of the Fourth Century.

60
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

In the Eleventh Century, opinion [regarding Apollonius of


Tyana] was divided; and while on the other hand, we find the
monk Xiphillinus, in a note to his abridgement of the history
of Dion Cassius, calls Apollonius "a clever juggler and magi-
cian", Cidrenus in the same century bestows on Apollonius the
not uncomplimentary title of "an adept with efficacy of his
power over the elements" in Byzantium.
Even as late as 1832, Bauer attempted to show that not
only were there resemblances between "The Life of Apollo-
nius of Tyana" and the Gospels, but that Philostratus deliber-
ately modeled his hero on the type set forth by the Evangelists.
He was followed in this view by Zeller, the celebrated Greek
historian.
Typical of latter Nineteenth Century views on the subject is
that of Cardinal Newman, a Catholic apologist, who, admitting
the identity of Apollonius and the Gospel Messiah, considers
the former an imitation of the latter, in spite of the fact that he
preceded him by three centuries (for the Jesus of the Gospels
was evidently born in the year 325 A.D., at the Council of Ni-
caea, rather than when the star appeared over Bethlehem).
To support his view, Newman mentions certain typical
examples, such as Apollonius' bringing to life a dead girl in
Rome, which he considers as "an attempt, and an elaborate,
pretentious attempt, to outdo certain narratives in the Gospels"
(Mark v. 29, Luke vii. John xi: 41-43, Acts iii: 4-6). This inci-
dent, is described by Philostratus.
Presenting further evidence that Philostratus' biography of
Apollonius is in many ways a replica of the life of Jesus, Car-
dinal Newman writes:

"The favour in which Apollonius from a child was held


by gods and men; his conversations when a youth in the
61
R. W. Bernard

Temple of Aesculapius; his determination, in spite of danger


to go up to Rome; the cowardice of his disciples in deserting
him; the charge brought against him of disaffection to Cae-
sar; the Minister's acknowledging, on his private examina-
tion, that he was more than man; the ignominious treatment
of him by Domitian on his second appearance at Rome; his
imprisonment with criminals; his vanishing from Court and
sudden reappearance to his mourning disciples at Puteoli
– these, with other particulars of a similar cast, evidence a
history modelled after the narrative of the Evangelists. Ex-
pressions, moreover, and descriptions occur, clearly imitated
'from the sacred volume.'"

Réville, another Catholic apologist, thinks as does New-


man that "the biography of Apollonius is in great measure an
imitation of the Gospel narrative." Réville bases his argument
on the similarity of the characters of Apollonius and Pythago-
ras (which is natural in view of Apollonius following Pythago-
ras as his example); and he seeks to prove that Apollonius,
rather than Jesus, is a fictitious creation, rather than an histori-
cal character. Réville writes:

"It is hard to say whether the Pythagoras of the Alexan-


drians is not an Apollonius of an earlier date by some centu-
ries, or whether the Apollonius of Julia Domna, besides his
resemblance to Christ, is not a Pythagoras endowed with a
second youth. The real truth of the matter will probably be
found to lie between the two suggestions."

Godfrey Higgins considers Christ as an imitation of Py-


thagoras, who likewise started life immaculately and was
killed by his enemies while seeking to serve mankind. The
truth is that both Pythagoras and Apollonius were historical
62
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

while Jesus is mythical. This would imply that Philostratus'


"Apollonius" had no real existence and was modeled on the
life of Jesus.
In refutation of that claim, that Apollonius had no histori-
cal existence and is an imitation of Jesus, is the existence of
a "Lease from the Estate of Apollonius," which is among the
Zenon papyri acquired by Columbia University in 1926. It is a
Greek manuscript written on parchment which refers to a gift
of cultivated land bestowed by King Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy
Soter, to Apollonius of Tyana; which was signed by Damis.
The land produced barley and wheat, which yielded its owners
a regular income.
The lease was a legal document which stipulated the rev-
enue that Apollonius was to receive from the crops which the
land produced, and to it the names of a number of witnesses
were affixed. In view of such clear evidence of the historical
existence of Apollonius, in sharp contrast with the lack of such
evidence concerning the Christian Son of God, the question as
to whether Apollonius or Jesus – in the historical original of
which the other is an imitation – finds the ready solution in the
mind of every unbiased person.
Apollonius spoke in parables just as Jesus did. Concerning
this point, Roberts, in his Antiquity Unveiled, writes:

"If the identity of style and sentiment is possible, then


the learned Apollonius was the original author of the teach-
ings attributed to Jesus Christ; an identity that all the alter-
ing, eliminating and interpolating by the Christian hierarchy
has not been able to destroy or even imperfectly conceal."

This similarity in the expressions of the two men made Cud-


worth, a Christian apologist, in his "Intellectual System," write:
63
R. W. Bernard

"It is highly improbable, if not unquestionable, that Apol-


lonius of Tyana shortly after the publication of the gospel to the
world, was a person made choice of by the policy and assisted
by the powers of the kingdom of darkness, for doing something
extraordinary, merely out of design to derogate from the mir-
acles of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and to enable paganism the
better to bear up against the attacks of Christianity."

Huet, another apologist, says further on the same subject:


"He (Philostratus) aimed and thinks it to have been his
principal design to obstruct the progress of the Christian re-
ligion by drawing the character of a man of great knowledge,
sanctity and miraculous power. Therefore, he forced Apol-
lonius after the example of Christ and accommodated many
things in the history of our Lord to Apollonius."

Thus the learned and pious Christian, Huet, was forced to ad-
mit the common identity of Apollonius and Jesus – the first de-
scribed by Philostratus according to the memoirs of Damis, writ-
ten in the First Century, and the other described by no one knows
whom or when, but certainly not until several centuries later.4

4 Commenting on the opinion of Huet, and confirming his identification


of Apollonius and Jesus, Parker, Archdeacon of Canterbury, in 1681, re-
marked: "I know that Huet is of the opinion, that all the substantial mira-
cles [of Apollonius] are stolen out of the Acts of the Apostles, and for the
most part, in the words and phrases of St. Luke. And this he had endeav-
ored to make good by a great variety of parallel instances and thinks it a
manifest discovery both of the vanity of Philostratus and the imposture of
Apollonius, where he is only adorned with borrowed feathers but a great
accession to the credit of our Saviour that when his enemies would form
the idea of a divine man, they were forced to steal his best feathers from his
picture. So that, he says, it was no wonder that Hierocles should so confi-
dently compare the miracles of Apollonius to those of Jesus when those of
Jesus were with so little disguise clapped upon Apollonius."

64
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

As Christian writers have been forced to admit the identity


of the respective narratives, concerning Apollonius and Jesus,
the only question to be settled is, who was the original author of
the so-called Christian teachings? There is sufficient evidence
available to prove that Apollonius of Tyana was that author,
and not Jesus of Nazareth nor Paul of Tarsus, as is wrongly
claimed by Christian writers.
Now, there was another important reason for the suppres-
sion of Philostratus' book, besides the fact that it presented a
dangerous rival to the Christian Messiah. This was the fact that,
though based on the notes of a contemporary of Jesus, and de-
scribing his travels from one end of the then known world to the
other, throughout the work there is not a single mention of the
existence of Jesus or Christianity, indicating that neither Damis,
who wrote the original notes in the early part of the First Cen-
tury, or Philostratus, who compiled the notes two centuries later,
were aware that either existed. Philostratus' biography was writ-
ten about a century prior to the formation of the Church at the
beginning of the Fourth Century, prior to the formation of the
church (325 A.D.); and Catholics have taken special pains to de-
stroy all books written at this time, lest the fact become known
that none of them makes mention of Jesus or of Christianity.
It was to destroy such books that the Alexandrian and oth-
er ancient libraries were burnt following the formation of the
Church at the beginning of the Fourth Century prior to which
Christianity (as we know and understand it) did not exist and
Jesus was unknown.
The argument that there is almost complete silence in Philostra-
tus' biography concerning the existence of Jesus and his disciples
has been the one most frequently advanced by Catholics to each
other, in order that there be maintained great vigilance in the sup-
pression of this book. In such discussions, this was what was said:
65
R. W. Bernard

"There is most complete silence as regards to Jesus and


his disciples. They are never mentioned; the existence of the
Christian Church is ignored; and yet the book contains at-
tacks on all kinds of religious and moral errors; hence, it is
argued, any similarity which may exist between the life of
Christ and that of the pagan reformer is either accidental, or
formed."

On this subject, Tredwell remarks that Christian writers:

"(...) declare that Philostratus wrote up a character in


imitation of Christ, and in opposition to the Christian reli-
gion, when the best evidence in the world exists (his entire
silence) that he never heard of Christ or Christians. How-
ever, if Philostratus did create a character in imitation of
Christ, how much more worthy of our imitation in practice
and precept is the counterfeit!"

Had there been such persons living as Jesus Christ, his apos-
tles and their Christian followers during the time that Apollonius
lived and labored throughout the then civilized world, Damis,
who accompanied him during much of that time, and who re-
corded everything worthy of special note, would have made
some mention of such people, either favorably or unfavorably.
That he did not do so is, of itself, sufficient proof that neither
Jesus Christ, his apostles nor the Christian religion had any ex-
istence either before or during that period, which was the only
time in which they could have lived, if they really did.
Dr. Lardner, in his "Credibility of the Gospel Story", there-
fore writes:

"It is manifest, therefore, that Philostratus compared


Apollonius and Pythagoras; but I do not see that he endeav-
66
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

ored to make him a rival of Jesus Christ. Philostratus had


never once mentioned our Saviour, or the Christians, his fol-
lowers; neither in this long work, nor in the 'Lives of the
Sophists'; if this be his as some learned men of the best judg-
ment suppose, is there any hint that Apollonius anywhere in
his wide travels, met with any followers of Jesus? There is
not so much as an obscure or general description of any men
met with by him, whom any can suspect to be Christians
of any denomination, either Catholics or heretics. Whereas
I think if Philostratus had written with a mind adverse to
Jesus, he would have laid hold of some occasion to describe
and disparage his followers, as enemies of the gods, and con-
demners of the mysteries and different from all other men."

Nevertheless, it was this very absence of mention of Jesus


and the Christians in Philostratus' book which was considered
by the Catholic Church as sufficient reason to prohibit its pub-
lication for over a thousand years, lest it be suspected that no
Christians existed at the time when the book was written and
that Jesus never lived.
Dr. Lardner observes that just as there was no mention of
Jesus or Christianity by Philostratus, so we find a similar si-
lence about Apollonius in the works of early Christian writ-
ers, though they mention philosophers of much less renown,
as Justin, Tatian, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, et al. Of
all these we have some remains; they lived in the first two cen-
turies and the beginning of the third. This silence on the part
of these authors regarding Apollonius can be accounted for on
the basis of only one theory – that it was necessary to utterly
ignore Apollonius and his philosophical and religious teach-
ings in order that the Christian religion might gain a foothold
and usurp the field he had grandly occupied.
67
R. W. Bernard

Besides, the fragmentary remains of the works of the first


three centuries that have reached us have had to pass through
the hands of Eusebius, Pope Sylvester I, and their coadjutors
and successors, who, from the beginning of the Fourth Century
downward to the time when the art of printing ended it, were
so assiduously engaged in interpolating, mutilating and de-
stroying every trace of evidence within their reach that showed
the real origin and nature of the Christian religion and its true
founder. It should have struck the attention of Dr. Lardner, with
vastly greater force, that just as in Philostratus' lengthy biogra-
phy of Apollonius there is no mention of Jesus, so in the entire
New Testament there is not a single mention of Apollonius, if
we except in a few verses of First Corinthians, where it says:

"(...) for while one saith, I am of Apollos, are ye not car-


nal? Who, then, is Paul, and who Apollos, but ministers by
whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I
have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."
[First Corinthians, Chapter 3,
Verses 3-6; King James Version]

In a very ancient manuscript of this Epistle, found in a mon-


astery in France by a Huguenot soldier, called the CODEX
BEZAE, the name is spelled not Apollos but APOLLONIUS.
As has already been indicated, the Encyclopedia Britannica ad-
mits that the name, Apollos, as it appears in the Pauline Epistles,
is an abbreviation of Apollonius.
{In the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica
under the heading of Apollos, we read:

"APOLLOS (contracted from Apollonius) – an Alexan-


drian Jew who after Paul's visit to Corinth worked there in

68
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

a similar way. He was with Paul at a later date in Ephesus.


In Cor. i. 10-12 we read of four parties in the Corinthian
church, of which two attached themselves to Paul and Apol-
los respectively, using their names, though the 'division'
could hardly be due to conflicting doctrines. From Acts
xviii. 24-28 we learn that he spoke and taught with power
and success. He may have captivated his hearers by teaching
'wisdom' as P.W. Schmiedel suggests, in the allegorical style
of Philo, and he was evidently a man of unusual magnetic
force. (...) Since Apollos was a Christian and 'taught exact-
ly,' he could hardly have been acquainted only with John's
baptism or have required to be taught Christianity more
thoroughly by Aquila and Priscilla. Martin Luther regarded
Apollos [=Apollonius] as the author of the Epistle to the He-
brews and many scholars since have shared his view."}

But even this positive clue to the identity of Apollonius with


the St. Paul of the Christians was attempted to be obliterated by
substituting "Apollos" for Apollonius, as it originally stood. This
studied avoidance of all mention of Apollonius in the Christian
Scriptures is positive proof that his recognition, in any way, by
the authors of Christianity, would be fatal to their scheme of
deception and fraud. We wonder [why] they had not the cunning
to obliterate that one reference to the preaching and teaching of
Apollonius, and the admission that his teaching was in perfect
accord with the teachings attributed to St. Paul.
It is an old saying that liars should have good memories.
This was never more apparent than in the oversight of not
eliminating that telltale confession from the First Epistle to the
Corinthians [King James Version]. There it stands and there
it will stand, thanks to the art of printing, to confound those
Christian enemies of truth and make clear the fraud they are
upholding.

69
R. W. Bernard

Reversing the true state of affairs, involving as it did the


replacement of Apollonius by Jesus in the beginning of the
Fourth Century A.D., Dr. Johannese Hempel writes:

"In the Fourth Century we observe the replacement by


the heathens of Jesus by a man who was put in his place.
First Celsus and Porphyry, and later Hierocles, put Apollo-
nius in place of Christ and opposed the new religion."

Concerning the identity of Apollonius and Paul ["Pol," an


abbreviation of Apollonius], not only were they both in Tarsus
at the same time as boys, but, as Newman points out, Apol-
lonius was at Ephesus and Rome at exactly the same time that
Paul was (yet, strangely, Apollonius' biographer makes no
mention of him, though Paul's biographer speaks of "Apollos"
having been at Ephesus with him). Also it is significant that
"Paul" is a fictitious name. There is more reason to identify the
character of Apollonius with Paul than "Saul," who led a dis-
sipated life, while Apollonius, even in youth, lived chastely.
Concerning the identity of Apollonius with Paul, Réville writes:

"Apollonius is not only like Jesus Christ, but he com-


bines in his own person many of the characteristics of the
Apostles. Like Paul he travels up and down the world from
east to west, and like him, too, he is the victim of Nero's
jealousy. Like John, according to a tradition which prevailed
even in his time, he is persecuted by Domitian."

And there is reason to believe that he was also the author of


the Apocalypse (St. John the Revelator).
The replacement of the vegetarian and pacifistic doctrine of
Apollonius, who taught harmlessness to all living beings, ani-
mal as well as human (as was previously taught by Gautama
70
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

Buddha), by the non-vegetarian and non-pacifistic religion of


Jesus and his bride, the Church Militant, has plunged the world
into centuries of unceasing wars and bloodshed, which have
continued to increase with the growth of Christianity. On this
point, Tredwell writes, "Think not that I come to send peace on
earth," said Jesus. "I come not to send peace but a sword."
Never did a man utter words so brimful of truth – melan-
choly as it is. Never was there a prediction whose disastrous
fulfillment has unfortunately lasted without intermission from
the time of its promulgation to the present. From the very es-
tablishment of the religion of Jesus, the sword has remained
unsheathed in its service, and more victims have been sacri-
ficed to its manes than to all other causes combined. Lest he
should be misunderstood concerning his mission, Jesus reiter-
ates that he came to send fire on earth, and strife to make di-
vided households, fathers against sons, mothers against daugh-
ters, and that under the new regime, "a man's foes shall be
those of his own household"! Bolingbroke says, "The scene of
Christianity has always been a scene of dissension, of hatred,
of persecution and of blood." Erasmus said the church was
born in blood, grew in blood, succeeded in blood, and will end
in blood.
Tredwell pointed out that Christianity forced its way for-
ward by mass executions and at the point of the sword. It was
in this way that the "Church Militant" was born and was en-
abled to develop as a world power. Born in bloodshed (the
brutal murder of Hypatia by Christian "monks" soon after the
Council of Nicaea, by order of Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria,
who was subsequently "sainted," and the ensuing massacres of
the Manichaeans), it grew by bloodshed (the deaths of tens of
millions of true followers of Christ, who refused to accept the
false hypocritical teachings of the church, over three million
71
R. W. Bernard

women having been put to death in Europe only a few centu-


ries ago as witches), it shall die in bloodshed (the aftermath
of the recent world carnage which is fruit of sixteen centuries
of false Christian teachings of peace, carried on with an olive
branch in one hand and a sword in the other).
All this resulted from the fraudulent replacement of the
original religion of Apollonius by the "new" religion of the
Church of Rome which took place at the Council of Nicaea in
the year 325 A.D.5
Since this date, humanity has been led astray. It is the pur-
pose of this book to correct this historic error and to bring hu-
manity back to the truth, so that, purged by the recent suffer-
ing, mankind once more will return to the true scientific path
of natural, healthful and humane living taught by the great Py-
thagorean philosopher, Apollonius of Tyana, nearly two thou-
sand years ago.

5 The word "new" here is significant. It clearly indicates that at the beginning
of the Fourth Century, Christianity, as created by the Council of Nicaea,
was indeed a new religion, and was preceded by the religion established by
Apollonius three centuries previously, which may be more properly called
Essenism, a form of Neo-Pythagoreanism in character, the new doctrines
which Apollonius brought from India and introduced among the Essenes,
which gave rise to the new sect known as the NAZARENES or THERA-
PEUTS, whose doctrines were essentially Buddhist in nature.

72
Part 4

Events in the Life


of Apollonius of Tyana:
Birth and Youth
of Apollonius
as recorded in "The Life of Apollonius of
Tyana" by his biographer, Philostratus


When the three Magi of Chaldea were approaching Bethlehem,
according to legend on the night when the famous star was sup-
posed to have appeared on the eastern horizon, a child was born in
the little town of Tyana, in Cappadocia, who was destined to alter
the course of human history for two thousand years – even though,
as the Delphic Oracle predicted, after his passing, his name was
calumniated, and a fictitious substitute put in his place.
The country people said that he was the son of Zeus; others
called him a son of Apollo; while still others considered him
as an incarnation of Proteus, the God of Wisdom, who, prior
to his birth, appeared to his mother and told her that she would
bear a child who would be an incarnation of himself.
Apollonius was born in the year 4 B.C., the acknowledged year
of the birth of Christ. His birth, like his conception, was miracu-
lous. Just before his nativity, his mother was walking in a meadow,
where she lay down on the grass and went to sleep. Some wild
73
R. W. Bernard

swans, at the end of a long flight approached her and by their cries
and the beating of their wings, awakened her so suddenly that her
child was born before its time. The swans, apparently, had foreseen
and marked by their presence the fact that on that day was to be
born a being whose soul would be as white as their own plumage
and who, like them, would be a glorious wanderer.
Apollonius was born with three gifts: the gift of intelli-
gence, the gift of beauty and the gift of wealth. His father was
one of the richest men of the province, so that his childhood
was spent in luxury. The renown of his intelligence and beauty
grew so great that the phrase, "Whither goest thou? To see the
stripling?" became proverbial in Cappadocia.
When he was fourteen years of age, his father sent him to Tar-
sus to complete his education, which was previously conducted at
home by private tutors. Tarsus was a town of pleasure as well as
study, and life there was soft and luxurious for a rich young man.
On the banks of the Cydnus, along avenues bordered by orange
trees, students of philosophy gathered to discuss the theories of
Pythagoras and Plato with young women in colored tunics slashed
to the hip, wearing Egyptian high triangular combs in their hair.
The climate was hot, morals free and love easy, but the youth-
ful Apollonius was not carried away, manifesting at this young
age the same inviolate chastity which he continued to preserve
throughout his long life of over a century, in spite of the fact that
he was one of the handsomest men of his age.
As early as his fourteenth year, Apollonius recognized the
existence of two divergent paths, one leading to a life of plea-
sure and love, and the other to philosophy and wisdom; and he
chose the latter.1
1 Shirley says that Apollonius "chose the path of sanctity at a time of life
when others chose the primrose path of dalliance. ... The world holds no

74
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

He then decided to lead the Pythagorean life. When his


teacher of Pythagorean philosophy, Euxenus, asked him how
he would begin his new mode of life, he replied, "As doctors
purge their patients."
Mead, in his biography, says:

“Hence, he refused to touch anything that had animal


life in it, on the ground that it densified the mind and ren-
dered it impure. He considered that the only pure form of
food was what the earth produced – fruits and vegetables.2
He also abstained from wine, for though it was made from
fruit, it rendered turbid the ether in the soul, and destroyed
the composure of the mind."

record of a long life lived more nobly, of a more undaunted courage in con-
fronting the tyrant, of a more unflinching tenacity of purpose, of a more
single-minded devotion to a high ideal." While himself living an ascetic
life, Apollonius sought to make Venus the goddess of pure love, free from
carnal lust, rather than to destroy her statue altogether, as the later Chris-
tians did.
2 Concerning Apollonius as a vegetarian, Phillimore, in his "In Honor of
Apollonius of Tyana," writes: "A man called Apollonius was born at Tyana
at some date known, probably in the reign of Tiberius. The persecutions
which made it dangerous for Seneca at Rome to continue his experiment in
vegetarianism did not extend to Cilicia, and Apollonius addicted himself to
Neo-Pythagoreanism [vegetarianism]. From the ordinary humanistic train-
ing of a sophist, he seems to have passed into the ascetic discipline of a
sect which, originally Oriental, and afterwards reaching its highest success
among the decadent colonial aristocracies of South Italy, was now again
coming into vogue as the Roman empire began to orientalize. Indian the-
osophy, a natural science chiefly drawn from Stoic authorities, antiquarian
ritualism in certain Greek cults, a great copiousness of moral sentiment,
the asceticism which usually appears at the times when the white corpus-
cles predominate in the body politic of any civilization – vegetarianism,
teetotalism, etc. – such appear to have been the main ingredients in Apol-
lonius' religion."

75
R. W. Bernard

Finding the morals of Tarsus distasteful, Apollonius re-


solved to take up quarters at Aegae, which possessed a temple
of Aesculapius, the priests of which were philosophers of the
Pythagorean school. So famous were they for their power as
healers that people came to their temple from all over Greece,
from Syria and even from Alexandria to consult them. The
priests of this healing temple of Aegae cured disease by veg-
etarian diet, hydrotherapy, fasting and magnetic healing ("lay-
ing on of hands," which art Apollonius acquired from them).
They were heirs of an ancient oral therapeutic tradition which
came from the Orphic mysteries, the secret of which was jeal-
ously guarded by the disciple who received it. By these priests,
Apollonius was initiated; and it was not long before he ex-
celled his masters.
Concerning Apollonius' life in the temple of Aegae, Stobart
writes:

"Marvelous cures are attributed to Apollonius, for like


his great master, Pythagoras, he considered healing the most
important of the divine arts; and, in addition, under his guid-
ance, the temple became also a centre for philosophy and
for the science of religion. His aim was to purify the temple
worship and to reform the ancient Greek religion from with-
in, by revising, along Pythagorean lines, the understanding
of the spiritual truths which were at the base of the esoteric
mysteries."3

3 The school of Pythagoras formed at that time a secret order which had se -
eral stages of initiation, the members of which recognized each other by
certain signs and symbols, in order that the doctrine remain unintelligible
to the profane. Music, geometry and astronomy were studied, not as they
are now but rather as discipline to prepare the mind for the awakening of
super-sensory spiritual facilities of perception. The aim of the Pythagorean
teaching was physical, mental and spiritual regeneration, which Pythagoras

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

Apollonius took up his residence in the temple of Aesculapius


at Aegae in the company of the priests, manifesting an amazing
eagerness to acquire their secret knowledge, and had an astonish-
ing gift for healing and clairvoyance. And, following Pythagorean
custom, he let his hair grow long, abstained from the flesh of ani-
mals and from wine; walked barefooted or with bark sandals, and
clad only in white linen garments, giving up all that was made
from leather, wool or any other animal material.
At this time being then sixteen years of age, he resolved
to forever abstain from marriage and sexual relations, which
resolution he kept unbroken during his long lifetime of over
a century, thus surpassing Pythagoras, Socrates, Buddha and
Confucius, for while they married, Apollonius preserved a
degree of virginity known only to vestal virgins and Pythian
priestesses. This immaculate chastity Apollonius attributed to
his very careful Pythagorean low-protein vegetarian diet and
his avoidance of alcohol and other excitants, according to the
teaching of Pythagoras, who prohibited even vegetable pro-
teins such as beans, for this reason.
Concerning the life of Apollonius at this age, W. B. Wal-
lace writes:

"Henceforth, Apollonius abjured all the pleasures of sen­


se. A vegetarian and a total abstainer in the modern meaning

founded on a vegetarian diet and continence. The members of the Pythago-


rean Order so carefully guarded their secret doctrines that the Pythagorean
Timycha cut out her tongue rather than reveal to Dionysus the Elder the
reason for the prohibition of beans in the rules of the community.
[Comment: One wonders about the prohibition of beans in the Pythago-
rean rules, so secret a tenet that Timycha would cut out her tongue rather
than reveal it to Dionysus the Elder. Surely mere flatulence was not the
reason for this prohibition.]

77
R. W. Bernard

of the latter term, the devoted monk of philosophy adopted


and practiced more rigidly than any hermit of the Thebaid,
the triple rule of poverty, chastity and obedience.4 This native
of a warm and luxuriant clime, whose people were wholly
given to indolent gossip and sybaritic enjoyments of all kinds,
was clad in a simple robe of white byssus, after the fashion
of Empedocles, whom he so much resembled in many ways,
slept upon the ground, went bare-footed like Socrates, and –

4 Concerning the young Apollonius' resolution to lead a Pythagorean life, his


biographer, Philostratus, writes: "Naught would he wear that came from a
dead beast, nor touch a morsel of a thing that once had life, nor offer it in
sacrifice; nor for him to stain with blood the altars; but honey-cakes and
incense, and the service of his song went upward from the man unto the
Gods [higher-dimensional spiritual intelligences] for well he knew that
they would take such gifts far rather than the oxen in their hundreds with
the knife. For, he in sooth, held converse with the Gods and learned from
them how they were pleased with men and how displeased, and thence as
well he drew his nature-lore. As for the rest, he said, they guessed at the
divine, and held opinions on the Gods which proved each other false; but
unto him Apollo's self did come, confessed without disguise, and there did
come as well, though unconfessed, Athena and the Muses, and other Gods
[spiritual rulers or Lords of inner spiritual planes, viz. astral, mental, and
causal planes] whose forms and names mankind did not yet know.
"Thus passed the 'lehr-jare' [sic] of Apollonius, and thus in the very
heyday of his youth was the flesh subdued to the spirit. It is certain that
none but a lofty soul, favoured with a vision of the Supreme rarely vouch-
safed to man, could have voluntarily embraced a life of hardness such as
this. And yet the man never allowed asceticism to degenerate into misan-
thropy. A perennial fount of joy seemed to bubble within his soul. He had a
smiling countenance and a sparkling eye; in mien and aspect he was strik-
ing, dignified, godlike; his nature was kindly and sympathetic; he liked
the society of his fellows and the encounter of mind and mind; he was a
past master in the art of repartee and a cunning fabricator of `bon-mots,' of
which Philostratus has preserved several examples."
[Comment: The above quotation is inserted into Dr. Bernard's narrative
as it is shown in parentheses above, with no citation provided.]

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

hardest trial of all to a talkative Asiatic Greek – observed the


Pythagorean silence for five years."

At Aegae, Apollonius took up the study of Pythagorean


philosophy, which was the system that appealed to him most,
under a teacher named Euxenus, who, however, proved dis-
appointing, since he repeated parrot-like, the doctrines of Py-
thagoras without putting them into practice in his own life,
for he was a materialist at heart. So Apollonius, in disillusion-
ment, left him – however, rewarding his teacher by buying for
him a villa surrounded by a garden outside Aegae, and giving
him the money required for his servants, his suppers and his
poor friends.
Apollonius then imposed on himself a five years' silence,
which was considered necessary in order to achieve final
Pythagorean initiation. By that time he had become famous,
making many prophecies that came true; and while he was
in the midst of this period of silence, he quelled a rebellion
by his presence alone, without speaking a word. This tumult
was caused by a famine at Aspendus in Pamphylia, where
the people were going to burn the prefect, though he had
taken refuge by a statue of the Emperor. (And at that time,
which was the reign of Tiberius, the Emperor's statues were
more terrible and more inviolable than those of the Olym-
pian Zeus.) The prefect, on being questioned by signs, pro-
tested his innocence, and accused certain powerful citizens,
who were refusing to sell corn and keeping it back to export
at a profit. To them Apollonius addressed a note threatening
"expulsion from Earth, who is the mother of all, for she is
just, but whom they, being unjust, have made the mother of
themselves alone." In fear of this threat they yielded and
filled the market-place with corn.
79
Part 5

Events in the Life


of Apollonius of Tyana:

Apollonius' Visit to
the Brahman Sages
of the Himalayas
as recorded in "The Life of Apollonius of
Tyana" by his biographer, Philostratus


Apollonius' attention was then drawn to India, the foun-
tain-head of wisdom. Five centuries previously, Pythagoras
had brought some of the Himalayan wisdom to Greece. But
its memory had almost vanished. The world was in need of a
new emissary of the Eastern Masters. Apollonius believed that
he was called to perform such a mission; and so he set out, ac-
companied only by his friend and disciple, Damis, on the long
and perilous trip to the Himalayas, following the same route
formerly traversed by Pythagoras when he traveled to India on
a similar mission five hundred years before.
This was revealed to Apollonius at a half-abandoned tem-
ple of Daphnaean Apollo some distance from Antioch, where
a peasant-priest brought him the temple treasure, which had
been preserved by tradition, handed down from father to son.
This consisted of some sheets of copper on which were figures
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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

and diagrams. The priest had zealously preserved them till that
moment, awaiting the arrival of the man worthy to receive this
gift.
While engaged in his early morning devotions in the light
of the rising sun, the priest gave Apollonius the copper sheets,
which, as a Pythagorean, he was able to decipher as a record
of his Master's journey to India, including the deserts and high
mountains to be crossed before he reached the river in which
elephants disport themselves. He also saw before him a de-
scription of the exact spot which he had to reach (in trans-
Himalayan Tibet), and of the monastery among the thousands
of monasteries in the Far East where, five centuries previously,
Pythagoras had studied at the feet of the same Masters who
were soon to become his teachers.
For Apollonius was to become their new western emissary,
as Pythagoras had been five centuries previously.1
Reaching the little town of Mespila, which had once been
Ninevah, Apollonius met his future traveling companion and
disciple, Damis, who immediately was attached to him and
remained with him as his follower throughout his life. Apol-
lonius accepted him as his guide to take him to Babylon, since
Damis said he knew the way there perfectly and boasted, too,
of knowing the languages spoken in the countries through
which they would have to pass. To this Apollonius smiled and

1 Apollonius was to be the last western emissary of the Masters of the Far
East for many centuries. After him the door was shut. The Neo-Pythago-
rean, Plotinus, two centuries later, tried in vain to follow in his steps and
reach India together with the armies of the Emperor Gordianus, but was
compelled to turn back. It was not until a few centuries ago that the Mas-
ters found their next great emissary in Comte St. Germain [Francis Bacon],
who, like Apollonius, retired to the Himalayas after his passing from the
eyes of the world.

81
R. W. Bernard

replied that he himself knew all languages spoken by men and


understood their silence as well.
Damis was later to realize that Apollonius also possessed
knowledge of the language of birds and could read the great char-
acters, against the blue of the sky, formed by the trajectory of their
flight. It is claimed that it was from the Arabian philosophers that
Apollonius learned to understand the speech of animals.
Apollonius' chief public work was that of religious reform,
involving the abolition of animal sacrifices, which he replaced
by bloodless offerings that involved the death of no living be-
ing. The following incident is cited concerning his teachings of
kindness to animals, which constituted the basis of his opposi-
tion to animal sacrifices and his advocacy of vegetarianism.
When he reached Babylon, after refusing to do obeisance to
the golden image of the king, the latter, who knew him already
by repute, called him and, about to sacrifice a white horse to
the Sun, he asked Apollonius to accompany him. Apollonius
refused, replying, "You, O King, sacrifice in your own manner,
and give me leave to sacrifice in mine." Then, having thrown
frankincense on the flame, and uttered a prayer to the god, he
departed, so as to have no share in an offering of blood. When
the king invited him to join him in hunting the animals of his
park, he expressed disapproval of the pleasure taken in hunting
and killing of wild animals kept for sport.
After they had spent some time with the Magi of Babylon
and conversed with them, the two travelers, Apollonius and
Damis, climbed mountains whose summits were veiled in the
clouds. Unaffected by the gradual unfolding of their snowy
immensities, Apollonius said, "When the soul is without blem-
ish, it can rise far above the highest mountains" (i.e., into the
higher spiritual planes). They crossed the Indus and came
across kings clothed in white who despised ostentation. One
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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

evening, on a lonely river bank, they came upon a brass stele


inscribed with the words, "Here Alexander halted."
Coming into the land of elephants (India), nomads offered
Apollonius date wine, which he refused, though he did not for-
bid Damis to take it, just as he did not refuse him to eat flesh,
not wishing to impose his will on his disciple; however, he
himself abstained from both.
Coming to the court of Phraotes, King of Taxila, Apollo-
nius was hospitably received by this vegetarian emperor who
led a Pythagorean life except for his mild use of wine. When
he tried to argue with Apollonius concerning the benefits of
the moderate use of wine, saying that it promotes restful sleep,
Apollonius defended his water-drinking, saying it preserves
the soul untroubled and makes true divination (clairvoyance)
through dreams possible, with which wine interferes.
Following the course of the Ganges, they climbed more
hills and mountains (the Himalayas); and when they were
eighteen days' march from the Ganges, they saw in the middle
of a plateau (Tibet) high in the mountains, the home of the
wise men, which had the same elevation as the Acropolis at
Athens. A strange fog hovered over the place, and on the rocks
surrounding it were the imprints of men who appeared to have
fallen in an attempt to scale the heights, for an almost perpen-
dicular ascent was necessary at this point.
Then a young Indian approached the travelers and, coming
over to Apollonius, speaking in perfect Greek, he told him to
halt and follow him upwards, saying the Masters were expect-
ing their arrival and had commanded him to go to receive the
visitors. Apollonius and Damis were then led by their guide
towards the community of Brahman sages dwelling on the Hi-
malayan heights, whose chief was Iarchas, a great Buddhist
religious reformer. Philostratus described these sages as:
83
R. W. Bernard

"Brahmans who dwell on the earth, and yet are not on


the earth; in places fortified, and yet without walls; and who
possess nothing and yet all things."2

According to Damis, the Brahmans used the earth as a


couch, but first strewed it with choice grasses. They walked,
too, in the air; Damis saw them. He saw too, the fire which
they drew from the sun's rays, while they worshipped the solar
orb. Among their other miraculous powers were the capacity
to cover themselves with clouds at will and to get what they
wanted at a moment's notice (via yogic practices which yield
'siddhis' or supernatural powers – utilizing undiscovered laws
of nature). Damis describes these marvelous men as being strict
vegetarians, who lived exclusively on fruits and vegetables.
2 From de Beauvoir Priaulaux, in his "The Indian Travels of Apollonius of Ty -
na," we gather the following facts about these Brahmans, whom he describes
as a race superior to the rest of mankind. He writes: "The Brahman's educa-
tion began even in his mother's womb. During the period of gestation she was
soothed by song and chants in praise of continence, which in proportion as
they won her pleased attention, beneficially influenced her future offspring.
After the child's birth, and as it grew in years, it was passed from one preceptor
to another, until it was old enough to become an auditor of the philosophers.
These lived frugally, abstained from animal food and women, and in a grove
outside the city spent their days in earnest discourse, communicating their
knowledge to all who chose to listen. But in their presence, the novice was
not permitted to speak, or spit, under the penalty of one day's banishment from
their society. At the age of thirty-seven, his student life ceased.
"The mountain Brahmans subsist on fruit and cow's curd with herbs.
The others live on the fruit trees which are found in plenty near the river
and which afford an almost constant succession of fresh fruits, and, should
these fail, on the self-sown wild rice that grows there. To eat any other
food, or even touch animal food, they held to be the height of impiety and
uncleanliness. Each man has his own cabin, and lives as much as he can
by himself, and spends the day and the greater part of the night in hymns
and prayers to the gods."

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

They were attired in a sleeveless one-piece linen dress,


wearing no material of animal origin. They wore their hair long,
which custom they explained on the basis of the physiological
and psychological benefits which they considered the hair to
impart to the brain. Just as the skin absorbs and transmits solar
energy to the body as a whole, so they believed that the hair per-
forms a similar function in relation to the brain, for which rea-
son they exposed their long hair to the sun as often as possible,
hoping thus to absorb as much as possible of the ultraviolet solar
rays so powerful at the high altitude where they dwelt.
And so Iarchas told Apollonius who his father was, his
mother, all that happened to him at Aegae, and how Damis
joined him, and what they had said and done on the journey;
and he related this so distinctly and fluently, that he might have
been a companion of their route. Apollonius, greatly aston-
ished, asked him how he knew all this.
"In this knowledge," Iarchas answered, "You are not whol-
ly wanting, and where you are deficient, we will instruct you,
for methinks it not well to keep secret what is worthy of being
known, especially from you, Apollonius – a man of most ex-
cellent memory. And memory, you must know, is of the gods
the one we most honor."
"But how do you know my nature?" asked Apollonius.
"We," he answered, "see into the very soul, tracing out its
qualities by a thousand signs. But as midday is at hand, leave us
to our devotions in which you also may, if you will, take part."3

3 The Indian yogic science is not based on outer “sun” worship. The yogi
meditates on the inner “sun” or inner spiritual light which can be seen by
the “third eye” between and behind the two eyebrows, which reveals itself
when the attention is held steadily fixed at this inner centre [ajna chakra]
within the astral body. The outer sun, symbolic of the inner spiritual splen-

85
R. W. Bernard

Apollonius then asked Iarchas what opinion the Brahmans


held of themselves and was told that they held themselves to
be "gods" [advanced spiritual beings] because they were "good
men, who knew all things because they first knew themselves."
Iarchas then told Apollonius his former lives, stating that in his
[former] incarnation he was an Egyptian sailor.
The Brahmans then undressed and took a bath, after which
they put garlands on their heads around their long hair and
proceeded to the temple, intent on their hymns. There (quoting
Damis' account), standing round in a circle, with Iarchas as
their leader, they beat the ground with their staves till, bellying
like a wave, it sent them up into the air about two cubits; and
they then sang a hymn, very like the paeon of Sophocles sung
at Athens to Aesculapius. They then descended to earth.4
When Apollonius asked the Brahmans whether, since they
knew everything, they knew themselves, they replied in So-
cratic fashion, "We know everything just because we begin by
knowing ourselves, for no one of us would be admitted to this
philosophy unless he first knew himself." When Apollonius
inquired of Iarchas whether the cosmos was composed of four
elements, the latter replied that it was made not of four but of
five, the fifth being the ether. There is, said the Indian sage,
"the ether, which we must regard as the stuff of which gods are
made, for just as mortal creatures inhale the air, so do immortal
and divine natures inhale the ether."
On an occasion when he was praising Apollonius for his
devotion to mystic lore, Iarchas said, "My great friend Apol-

dour within, is only an outer symbol of devotion to the inner spiritual light
[Na’ad, Word or Logos].
4 According to Philostratus, the Brahmans levitate at will in the air “not for the
sake of vain glory, but to be nearer their Sun God,” to whom they pray.

86
APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

lonius, those who take pleasure in divination [clairvoyance – a


byproduct of the awakening of dormant latent spiritual powers
in the average man] are rendered divine thereby and contribute
to the salvation of mankind."
The word "salvation" embraced for Iarchas both spiritu-
al and physical health, for he declared that among the many
blessings which the art of divination conferred upon mankind,
the gift of healing was the most important; and to this art of
divination he emphatically attributed "the credit of discover-
ing simples [sic] which healed the bites of venomous crea-
tures, and in particular of using the virus itself as a cure for
many diseases. For I do not think," he added, "that men with-
out the forecasts of a prophetic wisdom, would ever have ven-
tured to mingle with medicines that save life, those deadly of
poisons."5
Thus we see Iarchas instructing his student, Apollonius of
Tyana, in the science of medicine, as he instructed him in as-
trology and other sciences. Reville, in his "Apollonius of Tya-
na, the Pagan Christ of the Third Century," writes as follows
concerning the Brahmans:

"They worshipped fire, which they boasted had been


brought down directly from the Sun. (...) With his own eyes,
Damis saw these sages rise up into the air to the height of
two cubits, without any extraneous support and without any
trickery whatsoever. The wise men do not live in houses, and
when it rains they summon a cloud and shelter under it. They

5 Comment: This is similar to our modern-day concept of Homeopathic


Medicine, where certain otherwise poisonous substances, such as cobra
venom, when taken in minute amounts, can be used to treat disease. Queen
Elizabeth II of England is perhaps the most prominent practitioner of Ho-
meopathic Medicine in the world today.

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R. W. Bernard

wear their hair long, have white mitres on their heads, and
are clothed in linen garments, woven from a peculiar kind
of flax which is only lawful for themselves to gather. Their
prodigious wisdom overwhelmed even Apollonius, who was
not frequently astonished. They are in possession of absolute
science; they know at once the past history of everyone they
see; they can answer all questions. When asked 'Who are
you?' they answer, 'We are "god."' Why? Because we are vir-
tuous.'" [See "The Life and Teachings of the Masters of the
Far East" by Baird T. Spalding, in 5 volumes, for a detailed
account of the advanced spiritual sciences practised by the
Himalayan yogic adepts of India and Tibet.]

The Brahmans were furnished with everything they needed


as a spontaneous gift of the earth, partaking of fresh vegeta-
bles and fruits in season which were brought to them by their
countrymen dwelling below them. During their repast with the
Brahman sages and their king, Apollonius and Damis were
amazed to observe that the food was brought to their tables
by self-moving tripods, while automata served as cup-bearers;
these mechanical robot waiters making the use of human ser-
vants unnecessary.6
Apollonius observed his teacher, Iarchas, perform miracles
identical with those purported to have been performed by the
New Testament Messiah, such as driving evil spirits out of a
woman who was possessed, curing a cripple, restoring sight
to a blind man and restoring a man with paralyzed hands to
health. He had a high degree of clairvoyance, could see at any
6 Atlantean technology is known to be secretly stored in underground ca -
erns beneath the Potala at Lhasa, and in the many other caves that network
underneath the sedimentary structures of the Himalayan mountains. Here
we a have a demonstration of some of the lost technology being displayed,
two thousand years before our supposedly advanced technological age.

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

distance, beheld both past and future, and could tell the past
lives of those he met.
Réville notes that Apollonius studied astrology and the sci-
ence of divination under Iarchas, for these sessions were secret
and to them Damis was not admitted, nor would Apollonius re-
veal to him the esoteric knowledge then imparted to him by his
Himalayan teacher. (Advanced astrology can reveal the dates
and times of previous incarnations of an individual; it is an exact
science when properly understood and applied. The popular ver-
sion commonly available today is but an enfeebled version of the
true astrology, which reveals the inner outworkings of the karmic
wheel, which balances all causes with corresponding effects.)
During his stay among the Brahman sages, Apollonius was
instructed by his Master in the basic doctrines of reformed
Buddhism, of which movement Iarchas was the recognized
leader, who had fled to his far-off Himalayan retreat to escape
persecution by the established Brahman priesthood of India.
Apollonius carried westward the Buddhist teachings which he
received from Iarchas in the form of certain Buddhist gospels,
otherwise known as the "Diegesis" or the "Original Gospel,"
which he translated and rewrote, adapting it to the language
and psychology of his native land.
Among the ESSENES he found the first converts to this
new doctrine, the gospel of Chrishna; and those who followed
these teachings (the Essenian Therapeuts, who were otherwise
known as NAZARENES) subsequently became known as the
first Christians. On his departure Iarchas gave Apollonius sev-
en rings named after the seven planets, one of which was to be
worn on one day of the week; these seven rings would, he said,
impart health and long life. Before parting, Iarchas prophesied
that Apollonius would, even during his life, attain the honors
of a divinity.
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R. W. Bernard

Thus for several months Apollonius lived among men who


were 'gods' in human form, and from them he learned spiritual
wisdom which he was destined to later bring back to the West
as the basis of a new religion (Christianity) of which he was to
be the founder. It was from Iarchas that he received the mission
that was to send him wandering all his life among the temples
of the Mediterranean countries, for the purpose of restoring the
ancient mysteries to their former purity.
When he left his Brahman master, Apollonius had certain
assurance that he would thereafter be in constant telepathic
communication with him and receive his guidance and instruc-
tion wherever he may be – which later actually was the case.7

7 On this subject, Magre, speaking of the Inner Voice on which Apollonius


always relied for guidance, writes: "We shall never know to what order the
spirit-guide of Apollonius belonged; whether the being who advised him
took on a form as chaste as himself and as beautiful as the statue of the
gods which he liked to contemplate, or whether the voice came from a dis-
tant Master who wished to see his pupil carry out the mission with which
he entrusted him.
"'I shall continue to speak to you as though you were present,' Apol-
lonius had said as he left his Indian Masters.
"Was it their words that he heard at a distance? Did he by divine inspira-
tion receive the influx of their wise thoughts? The man to whom he gave
the name of Iarchas must have brought the consolation of distant support
to the untiring traveler, the wandering mystic."

90
Part 6

Events in the Life of


Apollonius of Tyana:
Apollonius Leaves Iarchas
and Returns to Greece
as recorded in "The Life of Apollonius of
Tyana" by his biographer, Philostratus


Thus Apollonius departed from his master and teacher. And
is it not possible that just as the name of Apollonius, in the New
Testament, was changed to that of Jesus, so Iarchas became his
"Father," while the Brahmans dwelling on the heights of the Hi-
malayas became "angels in heaven"? As a farewell gift, the Brah-
man sages, on the threshold of their valley of mediation, gave
Apollonius and Damis camels on which to cross India westward
to the Red Sea, where they continued their journey by water.
Apollonius returned to Greece from India to accomplish the same
mission that Pythagoras had done before him, namely, to carry west-
ward the Wisdom of the East, for which his predecessor won only
persecution, ending in the burning of the Pythagorean meeting-house
in which Pythagoras and his disciples were assembled.1

1 Indicating that on his departure from the Brahmans, Apollonius considered


himself as their emissary to accomplish in Greece what their last student,

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On his way home, Apollonius sent the following letter to


Iarchas:

"Iarchas and the other sages, from Apollonius, greetings:


I came to you by land; with your aid I return by sea, and
might have returned even by air – such is the wisdom you
have imparted to me.2 Even among the Greeks I shall not
forget these things, and shall still hold commerce with you
– or I have indeed vainly drunk of the cup of Tantalus. Fare-
well, ye best philosophers."

According to another translation, Apollonius' letter can be


read as follows:

"I came to you by land and ye have given me the sea,


rather, by sharing with me your wisdom, ye have given me
power to travel through heaven. These things will I bring
back to the mind of the Greeks, and I will hold converse with

Pythagoras, had done five centuries previously, as Mrs. St. Clair Stoddard
writes: "Thus he conceived it to be his mission to restore to the Greeks
something of the ancient wisdom of Pythagoras. And at the conclusion of
these travels he was indeed abundantly endowed with occult [spiritual]
wisdom which powerfully enforced his own supernormal gifts and on re-
turning to Greece he was regarded as a divine person."
That Apollonius considered himself as continuing the work that Py-
thagoras had initiated five centuries previously is indicated by his state-
ment to the spirit of Achilles, in which he referred to Pythagoras as "my
spiritual ancestor."
2 de Beauvoir Priaulaux, in his "The Indian Travels of Apollonius of Tyana,"
written in 1873, comments as follows on this statement: "Easy and pleas-
ant as this mode of travel [air] is thought to be, Apollonius had recourse
to it but once – on that memorable occasion when about midday he disap-
peared before the tribunal of Domitian, and the same evening met Damis
at Ciachaerchia."

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

you as though ye were present, if it be that I have not drunk


of the cup of Tantalus in vain."3

Mead in his Apollonius of Tyana makes the following com-


ment on this quotation:

"It is evident from these cryptic sentences that the 'sea'


and the 'cup of Tantalus' are identical with the 'wisdom' which
had been imparted to Apollonius – a wisdom which he was
to bring back once more to the memory of the Greeks. He
thus clearly states that he returned from India with a distinct
mission and with the means to accomplish it, for not only
had he drunk of the ocean of wisdom in that he has learnt the
Brahma Vidya4 from their lips, but he has also learnt how to
converse with them though his body be in Greece and their
bodies in India."

3 From Iarchas, his master, Apollonius received the "cup of Tantalus," sy -


bolizing the wisdom which it was his mission to bring back to Greece as
Pythagoras had done before him. Tantalus is fabled to have stolen the cup
of nectar from the gods; this was the "amrita," the ocean of immortality
and wisdom of the Hindus.
4 i.e., Brahma Vidya: the knowledge of Brahma or God, the universal spiritual
Consciousness which creates, sustains and permeates the entire Cosmos.

93
Part 7

Events in the Life of


Apollonius of Tyana:
Labors of Apollonius
in Greece
as recorded in "The Life of Apollonius of
Tyana" by his biographer, Philostratus


On returning to Greece, Apollonius traveled around from
city to city, visiting the temples, where he restored the ancient
mysteries by re-educating the priests. According to Mead, Apol-
lonius' "one idea seems to have been to spread abroad among
the religious brotherhoods and institutions of the Empire some
portion of the Wisdom which he brought back from India."
His work was to unify diverse creeds by revealing their
common origin and nature, and thus to promote the Brother-
hood of Mankind. His first work was to abolish the barbarous
custom of animal sacrifices and to replace this by offerings of
frankincense and flowers. His object was to turn the minds of
priests and laymen from the EXTERNAL FORMS of religion,
from rituals and sacrifices, to the INNER MEANING, and to
replace idolatry by MYSTIC COMMUNION [meditation] with
the God who dwells WITHIN.
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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

For this purpose he went to all the holy places, in Syria,


Egypt, Greece and Spain; he even reached the rock of Gades,
which later was to become Cadiz, [near the southern tip of
Spain, near Gibraltar] which was, according to Pliny, the last
part of the continent that escaped the catastrophe of Atlantis.
His travels also brought him as far as Gaul. However, his chief
work of religious reform was in Greece.
When Apollonius came to Ephesus, the citizens left their
work and followed him, paying homage and applause. The
first discourse of Apollonius given at Ephesus was from the
porch of the temple of Diana, after the manner of the Stoics,
exhorting them to spend their time in study and philosophy
(spirituality) and to abandon their dissipations and cruel sports.
He also preached on "Community of Goods" ("communism"),
illustrating his discourse with the parable of the sparrows.
While discoursing one day in one of the covered walks of
Ephesus, on mutual aid and the advantages of "communism," it
chanced that a number of sparrows were sitting on a tree nearby
in perfect silence. Suddenly another sparrow flew up and be-
gan chirping, as though it wanted to tell the others something.
Whereupon the little fellows all set to chirping also and flew
away from the newcomer. Apollonius' superstitious audience
were greatly struck by this conduct of the sparrows and thought
it was an augury of some important matter. But the philosopher
continued his sermon, pointing out that the sparrow had invited
its friends to a banquet. Thereupon, a boy slipped down a lane
nearby and spilt some corn he was carrying in a bowl; then he
picked up most of it and went away. The little sparrow, chancing
on the scattered grains, immediately flew off to invite his friends
to the feast. Most of the crowd then went off at a run to see if
it were true; and when they came back shouting and all excited
with wonderment, Apollonius spoke as follows:
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"Ye see what care the sparrows take of one another, and how
happy they are to share with all their goods. And yet we men do
not approve; nay, if we see a man sharing his goods with other
men, we call it wastefulness, extravagance and such names, and
dub the men to whom he gives a share, fawners and parasites.
What then is left to us except to shut us up at home like fattening
birds and gorge our bellies in the dark until we burst with fat?"
While delivering another lecture in Ephesus, Apollonius
displayed his unusual clairvoyant power by observing an event
occurring far away. In the midst of his discourse he beheld
the murder of Domitian in Rome; and suddenly stopping his
discourse, he cried out, "Keep up your spirits, O Ephesians,
for this day the tyrant is killed." Then he told the astonished
people what he had seen, namely that Domitian had been at-
tacked by Stephanus and wounded; afterwards, as Philostratus
tells us, "his bodyguards, hearing the noise, and concluding
that all is not well, rushed into the closet and finding the tyrant
fainting, put an end to his life."
Philostratus describes this incident as follows:

"At first he sank his voice as though in some apprehen-


sion; he, however, continued his exposition but haltingly,
and with far less force than usual, as a man who had some
other subject in his mind than that on which he is speak-
ing; finally he ceased speaking altogether as though he could
not find his words. Then staring fixedly on the ground, he
started forward three or four paces, crying out: 'Strike the
tyrant, strike!' And this, not like a man who sees an image in
a mirror, but as one with an actual scene before his eyes, as
though he were himself taking part in it."1

1 It must be understood that Domitian, a degenerate tyrant, was responsible


for the most terrible atrocities committed against spiritual/philosophical

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

Turning to his astonished audience, he told them what he


had seen. But though they hoped it were true, they refused to
believe it and thought that Apollonius had taken leave on his
senses. But the philosopher gently answered:
"You, on your part, are right to suspend your rejoicings till
the news is brought you in the usual fashion; as for me, I go to
return thanks to the Gods for what I have myself seen."
While at Ephesus, Apollonius predicted that the city would
be afflicted with a plague; and later, when visiting Smyrna,
emissaries came to him from Ephesus, begging him to rescue
the people from this terrible scourge. Philostratus writes:

“When he heard this, he said, 'I think the journey is not


to be delayed'; and no sooner had he uttered the words, than
he was at Ephesus."

It was to this occurrence that Aelian referred as among the


charges on which Apollonius was to be arraigned at his trial
before Domitian in Rome, for when he appeared among the
unhappy plague-stricken Ephesians, he reassured them, prom-
ising that he would put a stop to the plague, which promise he
fulfilled. It is said that Apollonius stayed the plague in Ephesus
by destroying a 'demon' in the guise of an old beggar-man.
As the result of his presence and labor in behalf of the
people, the city of Ephesus, which was so notorious for its
frivolity, was brought back by the teaching of Apollonius to

personages and was determined to stamp out by persecution all of the


higher spiritual knowledge, which Apollonius wished to spread. It is in
this context of the greater spiritual good of the whole human race that
Apollonius was relieved at the news of the tyrant's death. On an individual
level he would undoubtedly have the same compassion for him as a soul,
as to any other man.

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the cultivation of philosophy and the practice of virtue. On this


subject, Lecky, in his "History of European Morals," writes:

"Apollonius was admired at Ephesus; the 'devils' them-


selves contributed to his popularity by their oracles, which
they gave out in his favor. It is claimed that he reclaimed the
city from idleness, from a love of dancing, and from other
fooleries to which it was addicted and that he endeavored to
bring the inhabitants to be friendly to one another. He labored
in like manner in the other cities of Ionia to reform the man-
ners of the people, and to establish unity amongst them."

In visiting the temples, advising with the priests and lec-


turing to the people, Apollonius spent his time in Ephesus.
He also traveled to other cities of Ionia, adjacent to Ephesus,
where he addressed the people. Everywhere he was received
with demonstrations of joy and reverence. The people flocked
to hear him, and many were benefited by his preaching and
healing. The priests and oracles of Colphon and Didymus had
already declared in his favor, and all persons who stood in need
of assistance were commanded by the oracle to repair to Apol-
lonius, such being the will of Apollo and the Fates. Embassies
were sent from all the principal cities of Ionia offering him
rights of hospitality. Smyrma sent ambassadors, who, when
questioned for a reason of the invitation, replied, "I will come;
our curiosity is mutual."
Arriving in Smyrna, the Ionians who were engaged in their
Panon festival came out to meet him. He found the people giv-
en up to idle disputings, and much divided in their opinions
upon all subjects which tended for the public welfare and the
good government of the city. He exhorted them in their dis-
putes to rather vie with each other in giving the best advice or
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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

in discharging most faithfully the duties of citizens, in beauti-


fying their city with works of art and graceful buildings.
Apollonius delivered many discourses at Smyrna, always
confining himself to such topics as were most useful to his
hearers. He was the guest of Theron the elder, a stoic and an
astronomer.
Entering Athens, Apollonius was recognized and acknowl-
edged by the people as he approached and passed through the
crowd, amid greetings and acclamations of joy, regardless of
the sacredness of the occasion. When he entered the temple
and applied for initiation into the mysteries, Apollonius was
refused by the hierophant on the ground that he was an 'en-
chanter.' In reply Apollonius named the successor to the office
of the hierophant who, he foresaw, would initiate him at some
future date, which prediction was subsequently fulfilled.
While delivering a lecture in Athens, Apollonius' discourse
was interrupted by a youth, who gave way to inane laughter,
whom he found to be under demoniacal possession. Apollo-
nius stopped his talk and commanded the demon [rebellious
astral spirit – usually earthbound] to go out of the youth, and
to give a sign of his departure. This soon occurred to the as-
tonishment of the audience. The youth afterwards followed a
philosophical mode of life.
Hearing of the frivolities with which the Athenians were
now accustomed to celebrate the Dionysia, Apollonius rebuked
them by reminding them of the exploits of their ancestors and
of their legendary connection with Boreas, the most masculine
of the winds [appealing to their higher spiritual nature, in other
words]. Another abuse which he arrested at Athens was the
introduction of the gladiatorial exhibitions.

99
Part 8

Events in the life of


Apollonius of Tyana:
Visit to the Gymnosophists
as recorded in "The Life of Apollonius of
Tyana" by his biographer, Philostratus


We now come to Apollonius' visit to the "Gymnosophists"
of Upper Egypt, whom Damis calls the "naked Egyptian phi-
losophers," though according to Mead, the word "naked" prob-
ably meant "lightly clad." That they might have been originally
Buddhist missionaries who traveled westward is indicated by
a statement by one of the younger members of the community
who left it to follow Apollonius. He related that he came to
join the community from the enthusiastic account of his father
who told him that these "Ethiopians" were from India; and so
he had joined them instead of making the long and perilous
trip to the Indus in search of wisdom. If this is true, these Gym-
nosophists must have originally been Buddhist missionaries
who traveled westward and settled in Egypt, recruiting mem-
bers from the Egyptians, Arabs, and Ethiopians, and so in the
course of time forgot their origin. This explains the great simi-
larity of Gymnosophical, Essenian and Therapeut doctrines to
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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

Buddhist ones, aside from the direct importation of Buddhist


teachings by Pythagoras and Apollonius.1
According to Mead, the Gymnosophists were really a sect
of advanced Essenes, or Therapeuts, as described by Philo in
his "On the Contemplative Life," the description that Philo
gives of the Therapeut community that he visited on the shore
of Lake Mareotis near Alexandria, corresponding almost ex-
actly with Damis' description of the Gymnosophist community
in Upper Egypt. Both show the following unmistakable signs
of Buddhist influence and origin:

1 – In both cases the members gave away all their world­


ly possessions before joining the community.
2 – There was a novitiate period and an initiation into
the order.
3 – Abstinence from meats and wines was compulsory.
4 – Both practiced the healing art.
5 – Both made community of property the rule.
6 – Both took oaths of chastity and poverty.
7 – Both adopted and raised the children of strangers
and orphans.

Indeed, the Gymnosophical community that Apollonius


visited could very well have been one of the Therapeut com-
munities described by Philo and which he visited at about the
same period.
1 See the books by Arthur Lillie, Buddhism in Christianity and India in
Primitive Christianity, for details on the contribution of travelling Bud-
dhist monks to Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor, to the formation of
the early Essene/Therapeut/Nazarene communities in these areas, which
later became the base upon which Christianity was raised. A large number
of the volumes in the Library of Alexandria were likewise of Buddhist
origin.

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R. W. Bernard

According to Mead, this Gymnosophical community was


originally of Buddhist origin, having been established by Bud-
dhist monks. The origin of the Essene and Therapeut doctrines
has been traced by some of the Buddhist missionaries sent out
in the middle of the Third Century B.C. by Ashoka, Buddhist
Emperor of India, who traveled to Syria, Egypt, Macedonia
and those parts of Asia Minor where the Essene communities
were later known to exist. While it is possible that these com-
munities may have existed previously and have been of Orphic
and Pythagorean origin, it is probable that these Buddhist mis-
sionaries found in them a responsive audience.
Mead writes:

"Just as some would ascribe the constitution of the Ess-


ene and Therapeut communities to Pythagorean influence,
so others would ascribe their origin to Buddhist propaganda;
and not only would they trace this influence to the Essene
tenets and practices, but they even refer to the general teach-
ings of the Christ to a Buddhist source in a Jewish monothe-
istic setting. Not only so, but some would have it that two
centuries before the direct general contact of Greece with
India, brought about by the conquests of Alexander – India,
through Pythagoras, strongly and lastingly influenced all
subsequent Greek thought."

On the borderland between Egypt and Ethiopia, Apollonius


praised an Egyptian youth, Timasio, for his continence, re-
garding him as of more merit than Hippolytis, because, while
living chastely, he nevertheless does not speak or think of the
divinity of Aphrodite [reproductive energies] otherwise than
with respect.
Asked by the Gymnosophical philosophers to explain his
wisdom, Apollonius humbly replied that Pythagoras was the in-
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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

ventor of it, though he derived it from the Brahmans. This wis-


dom, he added, had spoken to him in his youth, and had said:
"For sense, young sir, I have no charms; my cup is filled
with toils unto the brim. Would anyone embrace my way of
life, he must resolve to banish from his board all food that
once bore life, to lose the memory of wine, and thus no more
to wisdom's cup befoul – the cup that doth consist of wine
– untainted souls. Nor shall wool warm him, nor aught that's
made from an beast. I give my servants shoes of bast; and they
sleep as they can. And if I find them overcome with love's de-
lights [lust], I've ready to pits down [sic] into which that justice
which doth follow hard on wisdom's foot doth drag and thrust
them; indeed, so stern am I to those who choose my way, that
e'en upon their tongues I bind a chain.
"An innate sense of fitness and of right, and ne'er to feel that
anyone's lot is better than thine own; tyrants to strike with fear
instead of being a fearsome slave to tyranny; to have the Gods
more greatly bless their scanty gifts than those who pour before
them blood of bulls. If thou art pure, I'll give thee how to know
what things will be as well, and fill thine eyes so full of Light,
that thou may'st recognize the Gods the heroes know, and prove
and try the shadowy forms that feign the shapes of men."
In thus addressing the Gymnosophists, Apollonius spoke to
philosophers who lived just as he did, for these Egyptian sages
ate no foods of animal origin, and were strict vegetarians as
were the Brahman sages of the Himalayas, the wise men of the
east, whom he had formerly visited.
A very interesting Socratic dialogue took place between
Thespesion, the abbot of the Gymnosophist community, and
Apollonius on the comparative merits of the Greek and Egyp-
tian ways of representing the gods. Inquiring of Apollonius
whether Phidias and Praxiteles went up to heaven and took
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R. W. Bernard

impression of the forms of the gods and then reproduced them


in matter, Apollonius replied that imagination is the vision of
higher realities or divine archetypes of things, and that each
man has his higher Self – his angel of god-like beauty, which,
like the gods, inhabits a heavenly world.
The Greek sculptors, he concluded, succeeded in reproduc-
ing these higher realities, which Pythagoras and Plato consid-
ered to be the true beings of things. Said Apollonius, "Imag-
ination is a workman wiser far than imitation; for imitation
only makes what it has seen, whereas imagination makes what
it has never seen, conceiving it with reference to the thing it
really is. Imagination is one of the most potent faculties, for it
enables us to reach nearer to realities."
Thereupon, Thespesion stated that the Egyptians, on the
other hand, dare not give any precise form to the gods; and so
they represent them only in symbols to which an occult mean-
ing is attached. Thus arose the representation of the gods by
different animal forms.
To this Apollonius replied that the danger is that the com-
mon people might worship these symbols and get unbeautiful
ideas of the gods. The best thing would be to have the worship-
per conform and fashion for himself an image of the object of
his worship without an external representation or idol.2
On his return from Egypt, Apollonius signified his ap-
proval of the conduct of Titus after he had taken Jerusalem, in
refusing to accept a crown from the neighboring nations. Titus,
who was then associated with his father in the government,

2 Concerning this dialogue, Mead comments as follows: "Apollonius, a


priest of a universal religion, might have pointed out the good side and the
bad side of both Greek and Egyptian religious art, and certainly taught the
higher way of symbolless worship, but he would not champion one popu-
lar cult against another." [Mead: Apollonius of Tyana]

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

invited Apollonius to Argos, and consulted him as to his future


behavior as a ruler. Apollonius said that he would send him to
his companion, Demetrius the Cynic, as a counsellor, which
Titus, though the name, Cynic, was at first disagreeable to him,
assented to with good grace. At another time he consulted with
Apollonius privately on his destiny.
Though they had the best intellect of the Roman Empire
from which to choose, the Emperor Vespasian and his son Ti-
tus preferred to consult Apollonius for advice concerning the
management of their empire. In his last letter to Titus, Vespa-
sian confesses that they were what they were solely owing to
the good advice of Apollonius.3*
On one occasion, Vespasian traveled from Rome to Egypt
to ask Apollonius' advice on political matters. He found the
sage seated in a temple. Approaching him, and apologizing for
his intrusion, the emperor, an ardent admirer of the philoso-
pher, said, "You have the amplest insight into the will of the
gods, and I do not wish to trouble the gods against their will."
On this occasion, Apollonius gave his august visitor a fine
example of his prophetic and clairvoyant powers. He said,
"O Zeus, this man who stands before thee is destined to raise
afresh unto thee the temple which the hands of malefactors
have set on fire." At that moment the temple in Rome was in
flames, a fact which was verified by Vespasian later.

3 Apollonius was wiser than most men because he derived his wisdom from
a higher source, from the gods; this was expressed in one word by Apol-
lonius in his answer to the Consul Telesinus, who asked him, “And what is
your wisdom?” “An inspiration,” replied the sage.

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Part 9

Events in the Life of


Apollonius of Tyana:
The Trials of Apollonius
by Nero and Domitian
as recorded in “The Life of Apollonius of
Tyana” by his biographer, Philostratus


During the reign of Nero, the philosophic cloak was proceed-
ed against in the law-courts as the guise of diviners. Not to men-
tion other cases, Musonius, a man second only to Apollonius,
was imprisoned on account of his philosophy and came near to
losing his life. Before Apollonius and his company reached the
gates of Rome, a certain Philolaus of Citium tried to deter them
from proceeding. To Apollonius this seemed a divinely ordained
test to separate the stronger disciples from the weaker (whom,
however, he did not blame); so that, out of thirty-four, only eight
remained with him, the rest making various excuses for their
flight at once from Nero and from philosophy.
Entering Rome, Apollonius publicly denounced the reign-
ing tyranny, as one so grievous that under it men were not
permitted to be wise. His discourses being all public, no ac-
cusations were made against him for a time. He spoke to men
of standing in the same manner as to the common people. A
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public protest against luxury, delivered on a feast-day in a


gymnasium which the Emperor was opening in person, led to
his expulsion from Rome by Nero's minister Tigellinus, who
henceforth kept a close watch on Apollonius.
His opportunity came at last when there was an epidemic of
colds and the temples were full of people making supplicants for
the Emperor, because he had a sore throat and the "divine voice"
was hoarse. Apollonius, bursting with indignation at the folly
of the multitudes remained quiet, but tried to calm a disciple by
telling him to "pardon the gods if they delight in buffoons."
This saying reported to Tigellinus, he had him arrested. Bringing
him to trial, however, he found himself baffled; and in fear of his su-
perhuman powers, let him go. Philostratus tells us that at his trial:
"(...) an informer, well instructed, came forward, who
had been the ruin of many. He held in his hand a scroll
wherein was written the accusation, which he flourished
about him like a sword before the eyes of Apollonius, boast-
ing that he had given it a sharp edge, and that now his hour
had come. Upon this Tigellinus unfolded the scroll, when, lo
and behold, neither letter nor character was to be seen. (...)
All these things appeared, in the eyes of Tigellinus, divine,
and above human power; and to show he did not wish to
contend with a god, he bid him go where he pleased as he
was too strong to be subject to authority."

When Domitian ascended the throne and began to show the


same morbid vanity and cruelty which had characterized Nero,
we find Apollonius traveling up and down the Empire, spreading
seeds of discontent and rebellion against the crowned monster. To
Domitian, he fearlessly said, "I am Apollo's subject not thine."1

1 How much different from the more compromising Christian Messiah, who
proved much more acceptable to Constantine and his court, preaching

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R. W. Bernard

Apollonius did not try to start a revolution (against tyran-


ny) only in one place but throughout the Empire. Wherever
he went, revolutions arose. He went into Gaul, and there with
Vindex, he raised the standard of revolt.2
In Chios and Rhodes he succeeded in bringing about po-
litical reforms. Later with Domitian, a second Nero, no less
cruel than his predecessor, and even exceeding him, if that
were possible, we find the ever active and fearless Apollonius
going up and down from one end of the Roman Empire to the
other, sowing everywhere the seeds of discontent and rebellion
against the tyrant of Rome. Still later we find him fostering a
conspiracy against Domitian in favor of the virtuous Nerva.
Discovering the plot against him, Domitian ordered Apollo-
nius to be arrested, but even this did not deter him. When Vespa-
sian was emperor, Apollonius supported and counselled him so
long as he worthily tried to follow out his instructions; but when
he deprived the Greek cities of their privileges, he immediately
rebuked the Emperor to his face. "You have enslaved Greece,"
he wrote him. "You have reduced a free people to slavery."

as he did to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's," a doctrine
which was the opposite of that preached by the revolutionary Apollonius,
an enemy to tyranny. This makes it clear why the Romans refused to accept
Christianity so long as Apollonius was its head, and why immediately after
his replacement by Jesus (at the Council of Nicaea in the year 325 A.D.),
a previously persecuted `communist' cult of the poor and oppressed was
elevated to become the imperial religion of the Roman emperors.
2 There can be no doubt that Apollonius was behind Vindex's revolt in Gaul,
in concert with the Governor of Baetica. After his expulsion from Rome,
Apollonius went to Spain to aid in the forthcoming revolt against Nero.
This is conjectured by Damis from the three days' secret interview that
Apollonius had with the Governor of the Province of Baetica, who came
to Cadiz especially to see him, and whose last words to Apollonius were,
"Farewell, and remember Vindex."

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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

When under Domitian, Apollonius became an object of suspicion


to the Emperor for criticizing his acts as he did the follies of Nero, in-
stead of keeping away from Rome, he determined to brave the tyrant
to his face. Crossing from Egypt to Greece and taking ship at Corinth,
he sailed by way of Sicily to Puteoli and thence to the Tiber mouth,
and so to Rome where he was tried and acquitted.
Apollonius always considered wisdom his sovereign mistress
and defended liberty even under Domitian. He entertained no fears
of his own life, for, although many philosophers were going into
involuntary exile during Domitian's reign, Apollonius determined
to remain and take up arms for the good of Rome against Domitian,
as he had done against Nero, although well knowing that Domitian
would condemn him to destruction. To the pleading of his disciple,
Demetrius, not to enter Rome at the risk of his life after Domitian
threatened to imprison and put to death any philosopher that re-
mained in the city or attempted to enter it, Apollonius replied:
"I have raised the standard of liberty, and at the moment she is
on trial – shall I desert her? If so, of what friendship am I worthy
after having thus betrayed my friends into the hands of the execu-
tioner? ... My life is not necessary; to go to Rome my conscience
tells me is. I shall therefore be true to myself and shall face the
tyrant. ... I go to Rome! For, as Phrasea Paetus used to say, I had
rather be killed today than go into voluntary exile tomorrow."
Some of the sayings of Apollonius against Domitian, the
successor of Nero to the throne of Rome, who surpassed even
his predecessor in cruelty, having been recorded, we are told that
he fell under suspicion through his correspondence with Nerva
and his associates Orfitus and Rufus. When proceedings against
them were begun, Apollonius addressed the following words to
the statue of Domitian: "Fool! How little you know of the Fates
[Law of Karma] and Necessity! He who is destined to reign af-
ter you, should you kill him, will come to life again."
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R. W. Bernard

This was brought to Domitian's ears by means of Eu-


phrates. Foreknowing that the Emperor had decided on his
arrest, Apollonius anticipated the summons by setting out
with Damis for Italy. At Puteoli he met Demetrius, who told
him that he had been accused of "sacrificing a boy to get
divinations for the conspirators," and that the further charg-
es against him were his strange dress and the worship that
was said to have been paid him by certain people. Demetrius
tried to dissuade his master from staying to brave the anger
of a tyrant unmoved by the most just defense, but Apol-
lonius replied that he intended to remain and answer the
charges against him, for to flee from a legal trial would, he
believed, have the appearance of self-condemnation. And
whither could he flee? It must be beyond the limits of the
Roman Empire. Should he then seek refuge with men who
knew him already, to whom he would have to acknowledge
that he has left his friends to be destroyed by an accusation
which he had not dared to face himself?
Before the tribunal, Aelian, Domitian's prefect, accused
Apollonius of being worshipped by men and thinking himself
worthy of equal honors with the gods. Apollonius was thrown
into prison, where he spent his time exhorting the prisoners
to courage and raising their spirits. Brought before Domitian,
he bravely defended Nerva, Rufus and Orfitus, whom Domi-
tian, had imprisoned as conspirators. Domitian insisted that he
should defend himself alone from the charges, and not the oth-
ers who were condemned. Apollonius, rather than defend him-
self, declared them innocent and protested against the injustice
of assuming their guilt before the trial.
Domitian replied, telling him that as regards his own defense,
he could take what course he liked; and thereupon he ordered
his beard and hair cut, and put him into fetters such as were re-
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APOLLONIUS THE NAZARENE

served for the worst criminals. (A letter attributed to Apollonius


in which he supplicatingly entreats the Emperor to release him
from his bonds, Philostratus pronounced as spurious.)
Being uneasy about his master's fate in Domitian's prison,
Damis was reassured by Apollonius who said, "There is no one
who will put us to death."
"But when, sir," asked Damis, "will you be set at liberty?"
"Tomorrow," answered he, "if it depended on the judge,
and this instant if it depended on myself."
And without a word more, he drew his leg out of the fetters
and said to Damis, "You will see the liberty I enjoy, and there-
fore I request you will keep up your spirit." He then put his leg
back into the fetters.
While in prison, Domitian sent a Syracusan, who was his
"eye and tongue," to Apollonius, telling him that he could gain
his release if he gave information about the supposed conspira-
cy against the Emperor; but he had to leave without result. Apol­
lonius then sent Damis to Puteoli, to expect with Demetrius his
appearance there, after he had made his defense.
Among the charges that Domitian made against Apollonius
were the following:
Charge lst: With wearing garments which differ from those
of other men, thereby attracting crowds of boisterous people to
the detriment of the good order of the city. Of wearing the hair
long and of living not in accord with good society.
Charge 2nd: With allowing and encouraging men to call
him a god.
Brought before the tribunal, Apollonius disregarded the
monarch, and did not even glance at him. The accuser there-
fore cried out to him to look towards "the god of all men," whe­
reupon Apollonius raised his eyes to the ceiling, thus indicat-
ing, according to Philostratus, that he was looking to Zeus.
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R. W. Bernard

After his triumphant defense, which he made spontane-


ously, since he was not permitted to read the long defense he
had previously prepared, Domitian acquitted him, asking him,
however, to remain so that he could converse with him in pri-
vate. Apollonius thanked him, but added the stern reproof:
"Through the wretches who surround you, cities and islands
are filled with exiles, the continent with groans, the armies
with cowardice, and the senate with suspicion." Then he sud-
denly disappeared from among them; and in the afternoon of
the same day, he appeared to Damis and Demetrius at Puteoli,
as he had promised, at a time when they despaired to ever see
him again [i.e., he disappeared from in front of the Emperor
Domitian at Rome and rematerialized 150 miles, or 240 kilo-
meters, away in Puteoli].
After he had slept, to rest from the recent strenuous events
in Rome, Apollonius told his disciples that he was leaving for
Greece. Demetrius was afraid that he would not be sufficiently
hidden there, but Apollonius replied that if all the earth be-
longed to the tyrant, they that die in the open day had a better
part than they that live in concealment. To those in Greece who
asked him how he escaped, he merely said that his defense
had been successful. Hence, when many coming from Italy
related what had really happened, he was almost worshipped,
being regarded as divine, especially because he had in no way
boasted of the marvelous mode of his escape.3

3 Comment: Apollonius lived in Greece, probably in Ephesus, from after his


trial in 92 until 97, a year after Nerva had succeeded Domitian. Apollonius
once said, "Live unobserved; but if that cannot be, slip unobserved from
life." Being true to himself and wishing to "slip unobserved from life,"
Apollonius composed a "secret message" to Emperor Nerva and asked
Damis to deliver it personally in Rome. After Damis had departed, Apol-
lonius entered a hidden temple, "died" and was never seen again.

112
Contents

Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Part 1
The Historical Apollonius
Versus The Mythical Jesus . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Part 2
Similarities Between
Apollonius and Jesus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Part 3
The Controversy Between Adherents of
Apollonius and Jesus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Part 4
Birth and Youth of Apollonius . . . . . . . . . 73
Part 5
Apollonius’ Visit to the
Brahman Sages of the Himalayas . . . . . . . . 80
Part 6
Apollonius Leaves Iarchas
and Returns to Greece . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

Part 7
Labors of Apollonius in Greece . . . . . . . . . 94
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R. W. Bernard

Part 8
Visit to the Gymnosophists . . . . . . . . . . 100
Part 9
The Trials of Apollonius
by Nero and Domitian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

114